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Brave New World | Chapter 15 | Summary

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Summary

When John the Savage leaves the ward after his mother's death, he finds himself in the middle of a group of identical ginger-haired Delta females and indistinguishable black-haired Delta males. They are lining up for their ration of soma. The realization that his mother was restricted by her caste's conditioning and drugged by soma just as these Deltas are infuriates him. Shouting that he will free them, he grabs boxes of soma from the distribution table and tosses them out a window. The whole time he rebukes the Deltas for accepting the childish behavior forced on them. The police arrive at the same time as Bernard and Helmholtz. Spying the angry mob of Deltas swarming John, Helmholtz rushes to save his friend from injury, and Bernard hurries to the police while yelling "Help!" as if he is trying to stop the riot. Armed with soma and tranquilizer water pistols, the police halt the melee to the continuous conditioning phrases from the "Synthetic Anti-Riot Speech Number Two (Medium Strength)." Reacting to the familiar voice and words of the recording, the Deltas once again line up at the newly supplied distribution table, and John, Helmholtz, and Bernard leave with the police.

Analysis

The sight of the 84 female Deltas and the 78 male Deltas, their individuality lost by cloning and conditioning that forces them to exist as slaves to the system, sends John over the edge. During his whole visit, he has encountered a population imprisoned by the embryonic composition and conditioning that binds them to their caste. His mother was a victim of her culture, a defeat she couldn't shake during 20 years on the reservation. When she returned to the London World State, she didn't try to enlighten the people about their freedom of choice. The Indians' rejection of her skin color and beliefs only confined her in a different way. She didn't know how to break away, nor did she want to. Instead she chose to live out her life in a figurative soma pillbox.

Miranda's words from The Tempest, "How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world," become John's battle cry of verbal irony to free this robotic office cleaning group from what he perceives as their slavery. To him his mother's Other Place is Hell on Earth, not Paradise. It does not offer a brave new world at all, but a domain created by people who fear independent thinking and the ideas and inventions that arise from nonconformity. The people of all of the castes have been brainwashed to believe that the motto, Community, Identity, Stability is beneficial because it allows them to live in the artificial womb of perpetual happiness. In reality the Community is created by the leaders and for the leaders because the people's Identities address the leaders' specifications and needs. The result of this manipulation is Stability founded on the mass production that feeds the rampant consumerism funding the oppression of idealism.

John's whole life has led him to this riot. It is his reason for being and his point of no return. This situation forms the climax of Huxley's satiric novel and leads to the denouement and resolution.

Flashcards for Chapter 15

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Term:

1) American firms became less competitive compared to foreign firms during the 1980s because A) the quality and productivity of American workers declined. B) foreign firms were younger than American firms and as a result had more modern facilities that made use of the latest technology. C) the U.S. dollar became worth more in terms of foreign currencies. D) the U.S. dollar became worth less in terms of foreign currencies.

Definition:

C

Term:

2) A spot transaction in the foreign exchange market involves the A) exchange of exports and imports at a specified future date. B) exchange of bank deposits at a specified future date. C) immediate (within two days) exchange of exports and imports. D) immediate (within two days) exchange of bank deposits.

Definition:

D

Term:

3) When the value of the British pound changes from $1.50 to $1.25, the pound has ________ and the dollar has ________. A) appreciated; appreciated B) depreciated; appreciated C) appreciated; depreciated D) depreciated; depreciated

Definition:

B

Term:

4) When the value of the dollar changes from £0.50 to £0.75, the pound has ________ and the dollar has ________. A) appreciated; appreciated B) depreciated; appreciated C) appreciated; depreciated D) depreciated; depreciated

Definition:

B

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