Brave New World | Study Guide

Aldous Huxley

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Brave New World | Chapter 4, Part 1 | Summary

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Summary

On the elevator ride to the roof after work, Lenina approaches Bernard Marx, and she accepts his invitation to spend her vacation at the New Mexico Reservation with him. After they reach the roof deck, she confirms their travel plans, and then she hurries away to meet Henry Foster at the helicopter pad for their trip to play Obstacle Golf. During the ride Lenina shows the effectiveness of her conditioning with her comments on the ugliness of the color khaki and on the green-clad Gammas about whom she says, "I'm glad I'm not a Gamma."

The ape-like Epsilon elevator operator physically matches his caste, and reveals some of his conditioning when they reach the building top. After opening the gates so the riders can get off, he repeatedly swoons "Oh, roof!" as he lifts his face to the warmth of the sun. A bell rings, and a neutral voice emanating from a speaker orders him to "Go down. Floor eighteen. Go down."

Analysis

Aspects of Lenina's and Bernard's personalities prove that the World State cannot fully create people devoid of emotions and independent thought. Lenina's biased comments regarding the Deltas and Gammas reveal her Beta conditioning, but she shows a contradiction to her caste when she wears a jacket in the green color she professes to hate. Her public acceptance of Bernard's invitation indicates that she understands Fanny's concerns about her relationship with only Henry, but she still leaves with him for the evening.

Bernard's anger that his smaller stature separates him from the mandatory tall and muscular Alpha males contributes to his surly attitude. Still, his revulsion at how the other men objectify women, especially Lenina whom he likes, is sincere. He doesn't care if others disapprove of his rejection of the conditioning that promotes the superiority of males. Nor does he keep his dislike of groupthink over individual thought to himself. Although he is a hypnopaedia expert, he has been endowed with the intelligence traits given to Alpha-Plus males. His work with conditioning has revealed the dark side of mind control. He is obviously struggling between what he has been conditioned to think and what he feels is right. This conflict is exactly what Mustapha Mond fears could happen.

This short section foreshadows the book's theme of the individual's effect on society counteracting the World State's suppression of individual identities. Individual identities would weaken the oppressors' strength as shown by the genetic design's influence on the novel's themes of society's effect on individual identity and oppressing ideologies.

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