Brave New World Chapter 15
Chapter 14 Recap • John (savage) visits Linda at the hospital for the Dying • John gets angry at the children making fun of Linda for being fat and ugly, showing his frustration with the brave new world • Linda dies, leaving John sobbing
Chapter 15 • In the hospital reception area, John encounters two Bokanovsky groups of Delta twins picking up their soma rations after their shift. (The Deputy Sub-Bursar distributes soma to the Delta workers) • With bitter irony he recalls the lines, “How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world.” from his Shakespeare readings • John cries out for them to stop taking the soma rations. He tells them that it is a poison meant to enslave them and asks them to choose freedom.
Character Review • John - The son of the Director and Linda (“the Savage”) • Helmholtz Watson - An Alpha lecturer at the College of Emotional Engineering who feels that his work is meaningless He and Bernard are friends because they both dislike the World State, but Helmholtz gets tired of Bernard’s petty complaints whereas Helmholtz is more philosophical and thoughtful, causing a strain in their friendship
The man distributing the soma calls Bernard at home. • Helmholtz answers the phone and relays the news about John’s statements to Bernard. They rush to the hospital together. • The uncomprehending faces of the Delta workers infuriate John.
He throws the soma rations out a window. The Deltas rush at him in fury. • Helmholtz, who has just arrived, jumps into the fray to help defend John. • Bernard hesitates. He knows John and Helmholtz might be killed if he doesn’t help, but he is afraid of being killed while trying to help them. He feels shame at his indecision.
The police arrive, spraying soma vapor and a powerful anesthetic. • Meanwhile, a recorded voice asks why the rioters are not happy together. • Before long, the Deltas are crying, kissing one another, and apologizing. Their soma rations are quickly restored. The police ask Helmholtz and John to come quietly. Bernard tries to slip out the door unobserved, but is caught before he can escape.
Chapter Analysis • This short eventful chapter (climax) shows how John is fed up with the brave new world, and also leads up to the final event that will decide the outcome of the novel. • Twice earlier, John has quoted the line from Shakespeare’s play The Tempest, “O brave new world / That has such people in it!” • The first quotation following John’s meeting with Bernard and Lenina is straightforward and joyous.
The second quotation occurs when John sees several identical Bokanovsky groups working in a factory. Here, John delivers the line ironically, as an expression of his physical disgust at inhuman sameness. • In John’s sudden inspiration to action, Huxley validates the World State’s belief that uncensored literature (the lines from The Tempest) and intense emotion—John’s sorrow at his mother’s death and his disgust at the Delta children in the ward and the Delta adults lined up for soma—can result in social unrest.
John’s surprising call to the Deltas to turn away from soma strikes—at least potentially—at the heart of social stability. • Note also Helmholtz’s enthusiastic participation in the riot, contrasted with Bernard’s hesitancy and his attempt to avoid arrest. This contrast—commitment versus cowardice—continues into Chapter 16.
Vocabulary • vestibule: waiting area, reception area • dolychocephalic: having a relatively long head. • bursar: a treasurer, as of a college or similar institution. Here, Huxley’s term for the person who holds and distributes soma at the Park Lane Hospital. • carapace :the horny, protective covering over all or part of the back of certain animals, as the upper shell of a turtle, armadillo, crab, etc
Bibliography • http://education.yahoo.com/homework_help/cliffsnotes/brave_new_world/49.html • www.sparknotes.com • http://www.readprint.com • www.enotes.com