Brave New World | Study Guide

Aldous Huxley

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Brave New World | Chapter 6, Part 3 | Summary

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Summary

Bernard and Lenina take the Blue Pacific Rocket to New Mexico and spend the night in a full-service luxury hotel in Santa Fe. Lenina is ecstatic when she sees every possible beauty, relaxation, and contraceptive item arrayed and hears the appealing synthetic music filling the room. Finding out that the hotel has her favorite games delights her. The next morning they meet with the Warden of the Reservation so he can sign their permit. As the man drones on with anecdotes about the Reservation, Lenina swallows a soma tablet so her brain will relax. Bernard worries that he left his cologne machine on in his apartment and is wasting a lot of money.

As soon as he and Lenina leave, he phones Helmholtz, who promises to stop by his friend's place to check the machine. Helmholtz tells Bernard that the Director announced his decision to send Bernard to Iceland. Furious with himself and his superior, Bernard swallows four soma doses. He falls asleep on the plane ride to Malpais, the village on the Reservation where they are going. As he sleeps, the Gamma pilot points out the electrified fence that keeps the savages in but kills wild animals. When they land, the pilot reminds them that gas bombs dropped over the years ensure the harmlessness of the Reservation's residents.

Analysis

Lenina is overjoyed with the plethora of accessories and activities the hotel offers and enthuses "Progress is lovely, isn't it?" Bernard understands his girlfriend hates anything that makes her unhappy. Already worried about the money his cologne machine will cost if he left it on, he is not in the mood to listen to her swooning. He coldly suggests that she stay at the hotel if she feels she "can't stand it" at the Reservation, but she insists she wants to go.

Bernard wasn't worried about being banished when he was feeling emboldened by the Director's story-telling indiscretion. He felt the incident offered him ammunition against a hostile transfer. Now he realizes his smugness masked the Director's power, and he should have taken his threat seriously instead of brazenly slamming the office door. He understands that theorizing about a possible frightening scenario isn't upsetting. The reality of suffering, though, is truly distressful.

The power of society's effect on individuals is revealed in the pilot's derisive comment regarding the bones near the electric fence surrounding the Reservation. At the sight of them, bleached white in the desert sun, he says, "They never learn. And they never will learn." The implication is that he is not speaking only of the animals but also the humans confined to the Reservation. The Warden's presence, as well as the electrified fence and gas bombs, indicate that Malpais is a prison and not just a home for the Indians.

The author became fascinated with New Mexico after reading D.H. Lawrence's book The Plumed Serpent. Beginning in 1926 Huxley traveled multiple times to this southwestern state, including a four-day visit in 1937 with his wife, Maria. He found the terrain of the mesas remarkable and was captivated by various aspects of the different Indian cultures; he spent a considerable amount of time researching the cultures.

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