The Brave New World takes place in the year 632 A.F. which means, After Ford (the god of the New World). Cilivization has been destroyed by a series of wars. The end of the Nine Years War brings the era of Ford. The leaders rule through dictatorship, and the society is based on a rigid caste system. The five major castes are the Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons. The Alphas are elite and have superior roles, while the Epsilons are the lowest and perform menial roles. Ten Controllers hold all the power and control using science. Marriage no longer exists, and children are produced in a factory. In the beginning of the novel, students are being given a tour through the London Hatcheries, the factory children are produced in. The processes used to make children are explained to the students, who are Alphas and will one day be employeed there. Henry Foster and Lenina Crowne are employees of the center and have been spending too much time together. Lenina's friend Fanny points this out and warns her that it is against state rules to date the same person too often. So Lenina decides to date another employee named Bernard Marx, who isn't like the other people in his caste. Bernard takes Lenina on a vacation to the Savage Reservation in New Mexico, where traditional values are still practiced. Before they leave, Bernard is warned by his boss, Tomakin, about his non-conformist ways and threatened with exile. While in New Mexico, Lenina and Bernard accidently meet an abandoned woman named Linda, and her son, John the Savage. Linda had traveled to the Reservation on a vacation with Tomakin years ago and was left behind. After finding out she was pregnant, she knew she couldn't return to the Utopia, so she stayed on the Reservation. After hearing Linda's story, Bernard goes to one of the Controllers and gets permission to take Linda and John back to Utopia. Tomakin meets both Linda and John, is ridiculed, and resigns from his position at the Hatcheries. Bernard no longer has to worry about being exiled. John becomes entertainment for everyone in the New World. Bernard has custody of John and loves the attention he receives because of him. However, John soon becomes unhappy because the ways of the New World repulse him. Even though John is unhappy, Lenina is extremely attracted to him, and tries unsuccessfully to seduce him. After Linda dies, John goes crazy. He tries to convert people to his way of thinking, which results in rebellion. Bernard and his friend Helmholtz Waston are blamed for the rebellion. Bernard and Helmholtz are exiled, and John is kept for experiments. He resists and tries to escape into solitude, but the citizens of Utopia still find him and watch him for entertainment. Finally, John commits suicide because of depression.
1. People in the New World believe in "sharing" each other, which explains why marriage is forbidden. How would our present day society view this belief?
2. The citizens of the New World believe life is just for their pleasure and happiness. They're conditioned to view death as just part of the life cycle, and know that another group of children could be developed in a short amount of time. The civilized people have no value for life. Do we have a deeper purpose than just living, and what do you value about life?