Brave New World | Study Guide

Aldous Huxley

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Brave New World | Chapter 5, Part 1 | Summary

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Summary

The chapter opens with Henry and Lenina leaving the Stoke Poges Club House after their game of Obstacle Golf. On their way to Henry's apartment in Westminster, they fly over the Internal and External Secretion Trust, a dairy farm where cows produce hormones for human skin care and health products and provide milk (referred to as external secretion) for the babies. They also pass over the enormous Slough Crematorium that collects phosphorus gas from the dead human corpses to use for fertilizer. After eating dinner in the communal dining hall in Henry's apartment building, Lenina and Henry take soma with their coffee and then cross the street to the Westminster Abbey Cabaret for an evening of dancing to the synthetic music of the Sixteen Sexophonists. Contentedly exhausted from their delightful evening, when the club closes they stroll back to Henry's apartment for the night.

Analysis

During their helicopter ride to Westminster, Lenina and Henry discuss their thoughts about the castes. Lenina is a bit offended that the phosphorus from the cremated Alpha and Beta corpses won't make better fertilizer than the Gamma, Delta, and Epsilon bodies. Henry explains that all people are chemically equal and that "Even Epsilons are useful." When she questions whether Epsilons mind being in that caste, Henry reminds her of their conditioning and that no one can miss what they don't know or have never experienced. This explanation clarifies the State's restricted education tailored to each caste. Henry's facts combined with the narrator's comments about the "Lower Caste barracks" and the "smaller houses reserved for Alpha and Beta members" add more depth to the state-established hypnopaedic discrimination.

The author's metaphor comparing the darkness of the night sky with the simulated pleasant weather and eternal sunny blue skies of the nightclub illustrates the superficiality the World State offers the people. Lenina and Henry are oblivious to the "depressing" stars and "retain their happy ignorance of the night." These ironic statements add to the satire by replacing natural beauty for false splendor, by removing every vestige of fear the night may bring, and by forbidding any chance that people might wonder what's beyond the World State. The lyrics to the song "Bottle of Mine" imply a comparison between the decanters in which life begins and the false soma-induced existence people live. The popular words "Bottle of mine, it's you I've always wanted! Bottle of mine, why was I ever decanted?/Skies are blue inside of you,/The weather is always fine" reinforce Huxley's premise that people in certain circumstances may prefer living inside a metaphoric bottle that promises them happiness, even if this means synthetic creations replace organic ones, or if their freedom to think is inhibited.

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