Brave New World: Death Is a Repudiation or a Validation
Let Down Your Noose Paige Fairbairn 10/20/12 Mr. Pierce per. 2 The ultimate escape is death. The driving force that pushes a man to slide his neck through a noose, tighten the hole, and take the final leap of faith- only to result in eternal stillness. The leap of faith John the Savage took was a symbolic repudiation of the World State’s motto, “community, identity, stability” because every aspect of John was a contradiction to the motto, thus weakening the strength of the motto, essentially reducing the meaning to “bunk”.
In Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World John had no community to accept him, no true identity to boost his broken morale, and his emotional instability shackled him to conscience, and roped him into death. Glorified civilization appeared to John as a morsel of knowledge; the opportunity of a lifetime. John’s uncontainable excitement procured the words of Miranda, from Shakespeare’s play The Temptest to pour out of his naive mouth, “O wonder! How many godly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world. That has such people in it! At this point, Huxely is paralleling John to Miranda, Bernard to Prospero, and Lenina resembles Ferdinand. John is intrigued as well as excited for civilization, as Lenina (just as Ferdinand was to Miranda) served as temptation to part take in this foreign, yet enchanting land, and only Bernard (just as Prospero admonished Miranda) knew of the cruelties and horrors of civilization and wished that John would understand that this world isn’t so brave or honorable at all. John, like a child, joins Bernard into a community where John is a specimen; to be observed and provide many laughs.
John, like a fresh water fish tossed into the sea, eventually dies, not just physically, but emotionally due to his incompatibility with the community. Not only was he a reject in the pueblo of Malpais, but he too was a spectacle in civilization, and was unaccepted due to his distinct personality and physical differences. The world state destroyed John due to its conditioned insensitivity. Amongst the community posing as an exploitative force toward John, his identity was stampeded and broken, even in his own solitude. Not only did Malpais reject him for his mother, Linda, but he looked too different to be accepted.
Even then, he struggled with himself and his solitude which led to his discovery of, “Time and Death and God” (136 Huxely). Even with this discovery, he still searched for himself, hoping to acquire a true identity in civilization. Any and all thoughts of an identity were smashed to bits, as John was simply a spectacle, just as his Mother was. Linda’s death was a wake-up call to John; he didn’t belong because no one could comprehend his emotion. Like a fish out of water, Linda’s soma induced coma was abruptly interrupted by the coming of her death.
She gasped for air, and flopped and flailed in distress; her death is symbolic for the role she played in society. She was a specimen of the grotesque, as her death reflected that, because it cut through the feigned essence of peace and relaxation in her room. Her death also served as John’s ugly realization of the, “Brave new world” and her death distorted John’s image of society as well as his own purpose being there. Immediately after Linda’s death, five young Delta boys with chocolate eclairs stood around her deathbed, asking foolishly of her death, for they were not enlightened of the true meaning of death.
Aldous Huxely is alluding to the five foolish virgins from The Parable of the Ten Virgins “five were foolish and five were wise” (Mathew 25:2). There were about half a dozen other Delta boys at the hospital at the time, adding to approximately ten boys. Instead of eclairs, these virgins in the parable each had an oil lamp, five of which brought enough oil to have entrance to a groomsman’s feast, and the five foolish virgins didn’t have enough oil and missed the entrance, so when their judgment came, they were declined to be let in due to their foolery.
It was also stated that, “the spirit of a man is a candle of the Lord” (Proverbs 20:27 KJV). Huxely satired the spirit of man and his faith represented through the eclairs; the perfect representation of immediate pleasure and delight, which served as a symbol for the identity of the society. Each Delta had an eclair instead of a lamp, foolishly asking John what happened to Linda, just as the foolish virgins were asking what happened to their entrance.
The eclairs served to represent their superficiality, and just as the five foolish virgins were shooed away by a bad judgment, the five Delta boys were forced out by John’s disapproving of their foolery. It was here that John realized he had no identity in this community; he was surrounded by fools who couldn’t comprehend deep feelings and emotion ; he was lost and couldn’t find himself in the misleading and misgivings of civilization. He hadn’t an identity due to the inability of others to accept him for who he was. As a result, John began to disturb the stability the World State thrives for.
The sweet desire for stimulating pleasures were all readily available and handed out in the World State; sex, soma, and never being alone was the foundation of civilization’s stability. John’s morals intensely conflicted with this, he viewed the soma pillboxes as caskets and can’t grasp the lack of religion and concrete feeling; for that is how civilization thrives. John is desperate for escape and the world controller, Mustapha Mond quotes, “sometimes a thousand twangling instruments will hum about my ears and sometimes voices” (218) from Shakespeare’s play The Temptest.
Like Caliban, the controller is speaking to John (who is like Stephano) of the sweet melodies and diversions of the island, that lull him to dream fantastic dreams, and when he wakes, he only wishes to dream once again. Mustapha continues that the absence of God is civilization’s fault, and shall never be obtained through solitude. Soma and indoctrination, “hasn’t been very good for the truth of course. But it’s very good for happiness. One can’t have something for nothing. Happiness has to be paid for. (228) Mustapha is tempting, and giving John the choice to enslave his mind with pleasure for superficial happiness rather than to be unhappy. John declines and Mustapha Mond questions if he will claim all of the let downs and sorrows of life and John, in a christ-like moment says, “I claim them all. ” (240) Mustapha stays in his role of playing on people’s pleasures, in exchange for their souls, just as Satan did. Bernard and Hemholtz were sent into a purgatory-like island were some pleasures are removed, but they aren’t truly free, and John is sent to his own solitude to repent and find God.
John, after many episodes of further exploitation, hangs himself due to his own emotion instability. Like a stairway to heaven, he climbed up the lighthouse steps and hung himself from an arch, that would bring him his true redemption and inner peace. The World State only amplified his instability with their lack of morals and twisted ways. John served as a symbol of defiled wholesomeness; he tried not to engage in the sinful activities of society, and the only way he found escape was in death. He died as a result of others’ sins.
John was the exception to the rule of the World State; if one has found faith, one can’t be valid to the “community, identity, stability” of the World State. The reason John didn’t fit was because he had true feelings that conflicted with the shallow feelings of hypnopedically indoctrinated society. John took a leap of faith with the people trying to enlighten them, but failed. It was the lack of recognition for a concrete community, identity, and stability that rocked John over the edge to take his own life, in the ultimate repudiation of corrupt civilization.
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