Since its publication in 1932, Huxley's 'Brave New World' has provided food for thought regarding science and ethics. This free ebook explores many related themes from a Christian perspective.
Throughout the first two chapters I’m going to be quoting a lot from the book. The quotes are obviously taken from a number of different scenes, and it’s not really practical to try and describe what is going on with each excerpt. The poignancy of the quoted material isn’t dependent on the specific context within the story.
Yet, all the same, it probably makes sense to at least offer a very rough overview of what happens...
The Brave New World is a (satirical) futuristic civilization. It is totalitarian and scientific, and almost everyone is happy in it. Too happy. They achieve this societal bliss through a complex system of manufacturing, mental conditioning, and narcotics. A few citizens are not so euphoric, such as one of the main characters, Bernard Marx. He eventually takes a romantic partner (Lenina) on a holiday to a “savage” reservation [“savage” doesn’t refer to ethnicity in the story, but just means “primitive”], where people practice a quasi-Native American way of life. While there, Bernard befriends a man (John) and his mother (Linda); the woman originally was from the Brave New World but got stuck in the reservation after an accident.
The man and his mother are brought back to society from the savage reservation by Bernard. This brings Bernard fame, which ruins his brooding morality that was long at odds with the Brave New World. After John refuses to be paraded, Bernard falls out of favour again, and he ends up being transferred to a remote location.
John is left in the Brave New World alone, as his mother dies in a drug-induced stupor. He tries to live as a hermit, but is pestered by curious on-lookers, and ends his life via hanging.
There are many minor characters and situations, but again, I don’t think that knowing the full context really enhances too much the merit of the selected quotes.