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Brave New World | Chapter 10 | Summary

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Summary

The Director chooses one of the busiest times of day in the Hatchery to announce Bernard's banishment to Iceland. At 2:30 in the afternoon, accompanied by Henry Foster, he waits in the Fertilizing Room for Bernard. He tells Henry that he has chosen this place because it is one of the most densely populated Alpha and Beta work zones. Bernard enters the room, and after their greetings to each other, the Director calls for the attention of all the workers. He announces he is exiling Bernard because the conditioning expert does not respect that intelligence and responsibility must coexist as equal partners. Instead, he continues, Bernard's preference for his individuality over society makes him an enemy of the state. When asked if he has anything to say in his defense, Bernard answers "Yes" and brings in Linda and John. Linda recognizes the Director and broadcasts that he is the father of John and that she is the mother. Shocked by both the overweight middle-aged woman who used to be one of them and by the smutty word mother followed by the Director being called father, the people react with stunned silence that turns to hysterical laughter. Humiliated by this career-ending revelation, the Director rushes from the room.

Analysis

The tone of this chapter is as cold and callous as the novel's Chapter 1 introduction. Imagery of 4,000 clocks revealing the exact same time, the poisoning of Epsilon fetuses to inhibit their growth, and test-tube clones drinking bottles of external secretion (cow's milk) illustrate an inhospitable place devoid of any feeling for or nurturing of human life. The Director's decision to force Bernard to face a public shaming fits the depersonalized atmosphere demanded by the World State. Bernard uses this same frosty detachment to dethrone his nemesis. No one even blinks at the loss of eight test-tubes of spermatozoa crucial for human life that are carelessly knocked to the floor during the dual mortifying denouncements.

The Director's public condemnation of Bernard as an enemy of the state is meant as a warning to the thousands of workers that nonconformity to the ideals set during conditioning is inexcusable. No crime is considered more intolerable than one that would weaken society's stability. As the Director states, "Murder kills only the individual—and, after all, what is an individual?"

Bernard answers that rhetorical question by exposing the Director's irresponsibility in fathering a child. The head of the facility where all of the World State's population is created must be held to the highest level of government-established behavior. As Mustapha Mond's lesson in Chapter 3 emphasized, nothing is more disgusting or more obscene than a viviparous relationship of young produced from a living body. Not only did the Director's negligent behavior play a part in Linda's pregnancy, but the reality of their son, John, reveals him to be a father, along with the existence of a mother. As such the former couple represents two causes of the world's misery before test tubes eliminated parents and families.

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