Brave New World
Aldous Huxley is rightly considered a prophetic genius and one of the most important literary and philosophical voices of the 20th Century, and Brave New World is his masterpiece. From the author of The Doors of Perception, Island, and countless other works of fiction, non-fiction, philosophy, and poetry, comes this powerful work of speculative fiction that has enthralled and terrified readers for generations. Brave New World remains absolutely relevant to this day as both a cautionary dystopian tale in the vein of the George Orwell classic 1984, and as thought-provoking, thoroughly satisfying entertainment.
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Refer back to the Epigraph on the previous page. Although the Epigraph is in French, you can read the translation (provided by Shmoop) below. Also, feel free to click on the link to read a more in depth analysis of this translation: "Utopias seem to be much more achievable than we formerly believed them to be. Now we find ourselves presented with another alarming question: how do we prevent utopias from coming into existence? …Utopias are possible. Life tends towards the formation of utopias. Perhaps a new century will begin, a century in which intellectuals and the privileged will dream of ways to eliminate utopias and return to a non-utopic society less 'perfect' and more free.” (This annotation contains a link)
Which of the following best describes the mood created in this highlighted paragraph?
Reflect back to the Epigraph's commentary on the concept of "utopia." A utopia is an imagined society or world that is designed to meet the ideal conditions for life. In other words, a utopia is meant to eliminate all pain, evil, hatred, and other problems. In what ways is this "Bokanovskify method" intended to lead to a more utopic world? Do you think this is a good idea?
Which of the following literary devices is present in the highlighted line?
Did you know that you can look up any word in the text of the book or the text of the questions and answers? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Since it's so easy to look up words, make sure you use this feature frequently... Is there a word on this page you need to look up?
Notice the details in the highlighted passage, paying particular attention to words such as "surrogate," "synthetic lung," and "artificial maternal circulation." One can infer, based on the details, that the process being described is a replacement for
What is your reaction to the fact that this society "predestines" its citizens into chosen roles? Is this ethical?
Consider the Director's comments on happiness. Do you agree that "the secret of happiness and virtue" requires "liking what you've got to do"? Is that all that is required to achieve happiness? Explain your opinion using at least three examples from your personal life and/or other literary texts to support your analysis.
Watch the following video on denotations and connotations. Understanding a word's connotations can help you to better understand what an author is trying to convey with his or her diction. For example, observe the highlighted simile "pale as death." What type of feeling (connotation) does this language evoke? (This annotation contains a video)
Examine the diction and connotations in the highlighted excerpt. Which of the following words best indicates that these babies are treated rather impersonally?
The highlighted line is an allusion to the Bible, from Matthew 9:16, which states: "What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder." Notice the change the author has made to the language. What message is he trying to convey by replacing the word "God" with "man"?
Since nature is "free," the society wants to discourage a love for nature. What does this tell you about the society's values?
Based on the highlighted passage, which of the following statements is correct?
Notice the repeated reference to "Our Ford," followed by the almost religious-like sign made by the Director. This, along with the detail regarding Ford's first T-Model, provides readers with the hint that this society worships Henry Ford as an almost God-like figure. Henry Ford is best known not only being the founder of the Ford Motor Company but also for his creation of the assembly line and mass production. Consider why this society may "worship" this pioneer of the assembly line and mass production... In what ways do we see these methods practiced in this fictional world?
The "lesson" being taught to the children essentially teaches them prejudice towards others. What is your reaction to this form of "teaching"?
Consider the highlighted passage, paying close attention to the Director's comments about "suggestions" and the "child's mind." What theme(s) may be emerging in the novel thus far?
Observe the repeated reference to "consumption." There is an implication that this society wants to enforce consumerism as much as possible. Why do you think that's important to this society? Are there dangers to excessive consumerism?
Based on the details in the highlighted passage, the reader can infer that Mustapha Mond is
What is the purpose of the repetition of the word "whisk" in the highlighted passage?
Notice this rather bleak and depressing description of "home." What do you think of when you picture a home? Does this description match your own definition?
Notice how the narrative switches focus between the paragraphs. Our third person narrator jumps from Lenina back to Mustapha Mond without a pause. Watch for this narrative shift as you continue to read.
Based on the details in the highlighted excerpt, you can infer that this society likely no longer has which of the following institutions?
What literary element is the author employing in the highlighted passage?
Several characters have now repeated the line "Every one belongs to every one else." Do you agree with this notion?
Based on the italicization of the word "alone" along with the detail that there was "horror in Fanny's voice," you can infer that this society does not encourage individuals to spend time alone. Why do you think the society discourages isolation?
Consider the alternating narrative perspective that has emerged throughout Chapter Three. What is the author's purpose in focusing alternately between different characters? What is the effect of this point of view? Provide at least two examples from the text to support your analysis.
A Caste System is a class structure that refers one's social status in a society. One's status in a Caste System is generally based on income, education, profession, race, and/or other social markers.
Based on what you know about the society's values so far, why would the leaders want to teach children that "old clothes are beastly" and to "throw away old clothes"?
Notice the excessive dialogue here. In particular, observe how the dialogue does not actually show a conversation... It merely shows people talking out loud without any real interaction with one another. What is the purpose of the author's stylistic choice?
The detail that all "crosses had their tops cut and became T's" leads the reader to infer
To whom or what does the "innumerable rubies" refer in the highlighted passage?
Notice how you are now on Chapter Four, however, the author has titled this section "Part 1." Pay attention to how different chapters and parts are titled or numbered as you move forward.
Although the author notes that Lenina is only thinking these words to herself (not saying them out loud), he still includes quotation marks around her words. Why do you think the author chose to do this?
The detail that Bernard's voice "trembled a little" suggests that he is
Refer to the previous annotation to watch the video on character development and then analyze how the author has developed Henry's character thus far. In particular, pay attention to the details provided in the highlighted passage. Provide at least two examples from the text to support your analysis.
Watch the following video on character development and then review the highlighted passage. How does the author use details to develop elements of Henry's character? (This annotation contains a video)
Which of the following literary devices is present in the highlighted excerpt?
Propaganda is information or ideas that are often misleading, false, or exaggerated. Propaganda is often spread with the intent to promote a political leader, government, or belief. Why do you think this society has a "Bureaux of Propaganda"?
The details in the highlighted passage suggest that Helmholtz
The fact that Bernard suddenly tells Helmholz to "Hush!" out of fear that someone may hear them talk suggests that people in this society may be punished for individual thoughts. Why do you think the society would discourage thinking?
Watch the following video on imagery and review the highlighted paragraph. How does the author use imagery to effectively describe the setting? (This annotation contains a video)
What happens to the phosphorus collected from the cremated bodies?
Notice the connotations in this highlighted paragraph. What is your reaction to the author's diction in descriptions such as "depressing stars" and "happy ignorance"?
The word "soma" means "sleep" in Latin. With this fact in mind, recall what Mustapha Mond said of soma in Chapter Three, describing it as "Euphoric, narcotic, pleasantly hallucinant." Evaluate the significance of soma in this society. In what ways might soma be used as a tool for control? What is the significance of the name soma, considering its Latin meaning? Provide at least two examples from the text to support your analysis.
Notice the religious-like quality of the ceremony. What message is the author trying to convey with this description?
What does the author mean when he states that "Even Bernard felt himself a little melted" in the highlighted passage?
Consider this highlighted line... If Bernard is lying about "hearing him," then how do we know the others are not lying as well? Do you think the others really "hear him" as they claim?
What significant detail does the reader learn about Bernard in the closing paragraph of this chapter?
What do you think Henry means when he says that the Director "would never have kept him" if Bernard was not good at his job? What might happen to people who are not good at their jobs?
Based on the details provided in the highlighted passage, why does Lenina think Bernard is so different from other men?
Consider how Lenina equates "freedom" with happiness as she declares, "I am free. Free to have the most wonderful time. Everybody's happy nowadays." Do you think freedom and happiness are the same thing? What major theme or lesson is the author trying to convey in this excerpt? Provide at least two examples, from the text or your own experiences, to support your explanation.
Why do you think Bernard chooses to take four tablets of soma?
How does Lenina respond to Bernard's comments in the highlighted dialogue?
Lenina is characterized as rather superficial here. Do you see this quality in any of the other characters?
Why would Bernard be envious of this frightening incident?
Observe how the narrator is able to move from one character's thoughts to another's. This type of third person narration is known as
What does Bernard mean when he replies, "Five hundred repetitions a week from thirteen to seventeen" to Lenina's comments on progress?
Based on what happened previously in this chapter, why do you think Bernard is being sent to Iceland?
What is meant by the words "the flower of the present rosily blossomed"?
The picture below is an example of what would be considered a "Malpais." The word "Malpais" means means "badland" in Spanish, as such areas are generally described as arid, barren, and difficult to cross. (This annotation contains an image)
Compare the differences between life in the "Ford" society versus life on the reservation. Identify at least three major differences between these two worlds. Based on what you know so far, in which society would you rather live? Why?
To whom or what does the word "They" refer in the line "They came crowding in on her thick and fast"?
Pay attention to the ceremony that is about to be described in this paragraph. What do you think is the purpose or significance of this scene?
The highlighted line is an allusion to Shakespeare's play Macbeth. What can you infer about this boy's education based on his ability to recite a line from Shakespeare?
What does Bernard realize in this highlighted passage?
Which of the following can you infer to be true based on the highlighted passage?
What is your reaction to learning that Linda had to adapt to life on the reservation? What challenges do you think she encountered?
Why do you think John calls his mother "Linda"? What is the author's purpose in including this detail? Provide an example from the text to support your explanation.
Watch the following video on flashback and observe how the author begins a flashback in this highlighted paragraph. (This annotation contains a video)
What is the significance of Linda showing affection to John?
The "Other Place" is obviously very different from our own world today, but do you notice any similarities between the "Other Place" and our society?
These lines are from Shakespeare's play Hamlet.
What "magic" and power does John suddenly realize in this moment?
Parallel structure occurs when an author uses the same pattern of words in succession. This is generally used to highlight how different ideas carry equal importance. Can you identify the parallel structure in the highlighted lines?
What does John experience here that Linda cannot understand?
The highlighted line is yet another allusion to Shakespeare. Here, John quotes a line from Shakespeare's play The Tempest, wherein a young girl, Miranda, is raised on an isolated island with only her father and servants. She eventually sees other people for the first time and is overwhelmed with joy, at which point she exclaims the famous lines “O wonder! / How many godly creatures are there here! / How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, / That has such people in't.”
What similarities can you identify between John and Bernard? What is the author's purpose in focusing on only these two characters towards in the end of this chapter? Provide at least two examples from the text to support your explanation.
Examine the diction and connotations in the highlighted passage. Which of the following best describes Bernard's tone and behavior?
There are clues that suggest that John is attracted to Lenina. What do you think will happen if he tries to pursue a relationship with her?
Which of the following literary devices are present in the highlighted passage?
The author uses a metaphor of a beehive to describe the workings of the Bloomsbury Centre. Why do you think he chose to include this metaphor? (This annotation contains an image)
This is a rather profound statement. Do you agree that it is better that "one should suffer" to prevent others from corruption? What is your reaction?
Why is everyone so horrified to see the woman, Linda, enter the room?
Analyze the people's reactions to the existence of a "mother" and "father." Why does everyone view this as either comical or an "obscenity"? What does their reaction tell you about the society's values? Provide at least two examples from the text to support your analysis.
This quotation is another allusion to Shakespeare, this time from his play Antony and Cleopatra. Why do you think John speaks this line here?
Based on what you know about Bernard and Helmhotlz's relationship, why is Helmholtz so "sad" here?
Notice how Bernard is changing here. What is causing him to suddenly find his life in the society more appealing?
Authors often employ foreshadowing to provide the reader with hints about what will happen later in the text. Watch the following video on foreshadowing. Do you think the highlighted paragraph is intended to foreshadow a future problem that Bernard may have with Mustapha Mond? (This annotation contains a video)
Make an inference. Based on the evidence in this chapter, what is the best explanation for why John begins "violently retching" in this scene?
Watch the following video on static versus dynamic characters. Based on the evidence in this highlighted passage, do you think Bernard is a static or dynamic character? (This annotation contains a video)
What does the detail "blushing" tell you about how the Head Mistress feels in response to John's question about Shakespeare?
Based on the evidence in the text, do you think John is interested in Lenina?
What literary device is present in the highlighted passage?
Consider the connotations of the word "strangled." Why does the author choose this word to describe how John speaks here?
Consider the evidence from the text. Why is Lenina so disappointed at the end of this chapter? Provide at least two examples to support your explanation?
There is no translation nor explanation for these words, so notice the punctuation and connotations in the highlighted passage. Can you imagine what John might be saying here?
Based on the evidence, what can you infer about Lenina here?
Evaluate the details in the highlighted passage. What does the evidence tell you about Bernard's recently acquired popularity?
Consider the author's choice to include this detail of Romeo and Juliet here. What are some of the similarities and differences between Romeo and Juliet and John and Lenina? Provide at least two examples from either text to support your analysis.
Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeare's most famous plays. As you may know, this famous play tells the tale of two "star-crossed lovers" who are unable to be together. If you need a refresher on the general plot of this play, review the following summary provided below: (This annotation contains a link)
Is it odd that Bernard feels both grateful and resentful towards Helmholtz here? What's your reaction?
What does Helmholtz mean when he says "I'm a marked man"?
What word best describes how Bernard is feeling here?
Notice Helmholtz's conflict towards the end of the chapter. He rejects so much of his society's views and practices, yet he cannot seem to grasp or understand another way of life.
Why does this individual die of "trypanosomiasis" twenty-two years later?
What's your reaction to Lenina's affection for John? Do you think she is in love?
What is the purpose of the dialogue in this highlighted scene?
Lenina is blushing here. Do you think it is possible for her to overcome all of her conditioning to ultimately feel real affection, and possibly love, for John?
These lines are from Shakespeare's play The Tempest, wherein the speaker, Ferdinand, responds to Prospero's request that Miranda, his daughter, retain her virginity until marriage. Why does the author choose to include this specific allusion here?
Evaluate the purpose and effect of the author's many Shakespearean references and allusions. Consider the highlighted allusion (in the previous annotation) or any other allusions from throughout the text. Provide at least two examples to support your analysis.
This line is from Shakespeare's play Othello. What is the purpose of this reference?
Make an inference based on the evidence in the text. Who is the most likely subject of this phone call? (Hint, notice the clue "she" in the highlighted dialogue).
This chapter begins at The Hospital for the Dying. Observe how this society deals with death. Compare their opinions (and actions) surrounding one's death to our own society's norms and practices.
Why does the nurse blush here?
Why do you think this society wants to "death-condition" its citizens? What might be the purpose or benefit of this?
Why is John so angry here?
Notice the very casual way in which the children observe death. Compare this reaction to a an ancient Aztec poem about death: "Oh, only for so short a while you have loaned us to each other,/ because we take form in your act of drawing us,/ and we take life in your painting us, and we breathe in your singing us./ But only for so short a while have you loaned us to each other./ Because even a drawing cut in obsidian fades,/ and the green feathers, the crown feathers, of the Quetzal bird lose their color,/ and even the sounds of the waterfall die out in the dry season./ So, we too, because only for a short while have you loaned us to each other."
Refer to the previous annotation to read the ancient Aztec poem about death. Summarize the overall meaning of the poem. Then, based on the poem, compare the Aztec's view of death to the Brave New World's view of death. In what ways are their views of death similar and/or different? Provide at least two examples from each text to support your analysis.
Watch the following video on elements of plot. Can you identify the main plot elements in the novel so far? Has the novel reached its climax yet? (This annotation contains a video)
Consider the language, connotations, and context... What is the primary purpose of the highlighted passage?
Do you recall that the reference to "Brave New World" is an allusion? Why do you think the author repeats this allusion (as well as the book's title) in this excerpt?
What is your reaction to John's view that the people in this society are "slaves" and "babies"? Do you think this is an accurate perception?
Examine the textual evidence. What causes Bernard to feel as though his legs have "lost their bones, their tendons, their muscles"?
What does the highlighted excerpt tell you about Bernard's character?
Pay attention to the conversation that is about to take place. It is one of the few moments in the book wherein a character, John, is able to have a potentially honest and informative conversation with one of the society's most powerful leaders, Mustapha Mond.
Why doesn't this society value or have "any use" for old things, such as Shakespearean writing?
This is Mustapha Mond's explanation of a utopic world. Do you agree that these qualities make for a perfect society?
What is the real meaning of this iceberg metaphor?
Do you think life would be happier if everything was easy, as Mustapha Mond describes? Are there every benefits to encountering struggles or challenges?
The Falkland Islands are an island chain in the South Atlantic Ocean. (This annotation contains an image)
Summarize Mustapha Mond's beliefs about happiness. Specifically, what factors, according to Mond, are essential to maintain happiness? Do you agree or disagree with his statements?
Based on what you know about this society, what is likely the best explanation for why they do not teach the citizens about God or religion?
Observe the shift in syntax here. Why do you think these long passages contain no indentations or paragraph breaks? What is the purpose and effect of these syntactical choices?
What is your reaction to Mustapha Mond's belief in God?
Make an inference. Why has the society conditioned its citizens to hate being alone?
Why does John suddenly think of his mother here?
According to John, in order to have true happiness, you must also have unhappiness, thus his claim that he wants God, poetry, danger, freedom, goodness, and sin. This statement is an example of which of the following literary devices?
Why do you think John wanted to be purified?
Observe the details in this highlighted excerpt. What theme or lesson is evident in these lines? What is the author's purpose in including this scene?
Why do you think John wants to be alone?
Why does John refuse the "synthetic starch and cotton-waste flour-substitute"?
John begins to feel happy here, yet he feels ashamed for his happiness. Why do you think John feels guilt with his new found happiness?
What is the best explanation as to why John whips himself here?
Make an inference based on what you know about the society and its values. What is the most likely reason for Darwin Bonaparte secretly filming John?
What is the author's message in showing that, despite his desire to be alone, people still find a way to invade John's privacy?
The highlighted line is an example of which of the following literary devices?
Observe how the society treats John. Do you think we (in our own society) do this to people today? Consider things such as reality television, gossip magazines, and the internet. Are we similar to the citizens in the Brave New World society?
The "dangled pair of feet" is a clue that John has hanged himself. Why do you think John chose to end his life?
Evaluate the final chapter of this novel. What major theme has emerged in Chapter Eighteen? How has this theme presented itself and evolved throughout the text? Provide at least two examples to support your analysis.