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Chapter 7

Kristen Over, Associate Professor at Northeastern Illinois University, provides an in-depth summary and analysis of Chapter 7 of Aldous Huxley's book Brave New World.

Brave New World | Chapter 7 | Summary

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Summary

Lenina hates the pueblo village. The dust and the fetid odors of rotting garbage, filthy animals and people, and unwashed blankets horrify her. Bernard neutrally comments that the Indian culture has lasted for thousands of years and the people "must be used to it by now." Lenina is flabbergasted when she sees the furrowed faces of the gray-haired, malnourished old people. She wishes she could chemically ease her revulsion of Malpais with soma, but she and Bernard forgot theirs.

The beat and rhythm of the drums echoing the synthetic music in the Solidarity Services and cabarets draws Lenina. The spectacle of the Indian's ceremonial pageant fascinates her until a young man's sacrifice. He wades through a pool of snakes while being whipped until he collapses and dies. Sickened by the blood, she and Bernard retreat into the adobe house where the guide left them. There they encounter John the Savage, a handsome, golden-haired white man dressed like an Indian and speaking in Shakespearean quotes. Lenina is attracted to his looks, but appalled by his use of the word mother as well as the overweight, dirty white woman who joins them.

John's mother is Linda, the Director's presumed dead girlfriend. Linda explains that Tomakin, the Director, is John's father and details her horrible life since she was deserted by the man. Like Lenina, she deplores everything about the place, especially the woolen and deerskin clothes that last forever and the abuse she has endured because the Indians are monogamous and she wasn't conditioned to be with just one man. She bemoans the mescal she has had to drink because soma doesn't exist there. Mostly she is humiliated that she, a Beta who worked in the Fertilizing Room, became pregnant even though she used contraception.

Analysis

This chapter is filled with figurative and sensory language—a strong contrast to the straightforward word choices and sentence structure in the chapters that reflect the World State's dispassionate atmosphere. The first line, a simile, creates a vivid word picture, "The mesa was like a ship becalmed in a strait of lion-coloured dust." In contrast the description of the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre offers brief staccato descriptions such as "The light was frozen, dead, a ghost." Although aromas were mentioned in the previous chapters, like "eight different scents and eau-de-Cologne," they never offered words that evoked any sense of smell. In Chapter 7, though, Huxley's use of phrases like "piles of rubbish, the dust, the dogs, the flies," the "profoundly wrinkled" ancient Indian with a "toothless mouth," and "ragged, filthy" Linda with the "bulge of her stomach and hips" offer readers clear imagery. The author also showcases a world in which people's emotions are not conditioned into oblivion, in which they experience the joys and horrors of reality, and in which they are permitted to make choices instead of living a programmed life.

The ceremonial music and pageant shows a strong similarity to the World State's Solidarity Services. Lenina finds herself drawn to the rib-pounding thumping of the drums and the male voices in "harsh metallic unison." As she listens she whispers "Orgy-porgy" and feels reassured. Both the Corn Dance and the Solidarity Service build to a crescendo of group hysteria. The difference is that the World State's rite results in happiness and oneness, and the Indian ceremony culminates in a disturbing display of torture, blood, and death. With the Indian Ceremony the author ponders whether the World State will one day find it necessary to cross the fine line between euphoria and agony.

The power of consumerism has not faded in LInda in the 20-plus years she has lived on the Reservation. She adores Lenina's lovely clothes for their attractiveness as well as for their brief life span. "The more stitches, the less riches," she says while condemning the lasting nature of the Indians' materials.

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