This week we continue our review of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World with Chapters 10-13. With as much as I was losing interest last week, I am equally engaged this week. These chapters were really compelling and the contrast of the “savage” compared to the modern world really gripped the imagination. Yet, I am still not sure if I would not favor the Brave New World over the alternative.
Chapter 10 (Every worker’s dream.)
This chapter is the fantasy of so many people in the work force: The ability to shut down the boss right as he is trying to make an example of you. Whether it is in a meeting or an inspection or a performance evaluation, you always hope to have a proper response if ever the unfavorable gaze of your superiors falls upon you. Here, things are made even sweeter because the Director himself sets a grand stage in order to take down the troublesome Mr. Bernard Marx. His arrogance gets the better of him and that was the great downfall of the Director. If he just had a quiet meeting in his office, then the Director could have possibly saved face. Maybe he could have retracted the transfer and found a way to sweep this whole “father” thing under the rug. Also, with Bernard’s triumphant reveal in front of so many people, it automatically makes him a superstar. Do it behind closed doors and maybe Bernard relinquishes a bit of control over the Savage and someone else gets most of the pomp and circumstance. Alas, none of that happens and the Director runs away (literally) and we are left with Bernard winning the day. We just know that this won’t turn out well for him.
Chapter 11 (A Savage in a strange land.)
First, let’s just admit at this point that Bernard is a pain in the backside. Get a little fame and he lets it go straight to his head. The women, the parties, the bragging to poor Helmholtz, it’s just sad to watch. We used to call it “reeking of effort.” Someone who is just trying too hard to prove something to everyone.
Then there is Lina, who essentially commits suicide via artificial vacation. Popping soma all day and all night, it’s a nice way to go I assume. It’s all she really wanted anyway, to escape. Nothing was going to let her escape who she had become, especially since most of her differences were physical and unacceptable in the modern world. I guess it’s better than ending up like a circus freak. Take an imaginary holiday or stand around and let people point and snicker at you? Who can say what Linda did was wrong?
That leaves John to explore the Brave New World by himself, since Bernard seems to have his head in the clouds. I can imagine how seeing legions of similar faced workers can creep anyone out. At the very least they should give everyone different haircuts or something, don’t you think? And then there is the feelies movie with Lenina. Who really thought that would be a good idea? It’s as if we went back in time and showed a cave man a 3D movie, they would probably freak out and jump off a cliff. Again, I chuckle at how highly ethnocentric these modern people are and their inability to even empathize with anyone else. Something we do see in our own world, no doubt. Just look on any social media stream and you will see the inability of people to understand the world beyond their neighborhood.
Chapter 12 (Time for some comeuppance.)
John stands up Bernard for a party and the audience turns on poor Mr. Marx. His social status is crushed and he is now lower than ever on the totem pole. Other than that, this chapter seems to be a love letter to Shakespeare as Helmholtz and John discuss poetry. I like to think that they are the two sides of a different coin, in so much as, if John was born in the modern world, then he would have been a lot like Helmholtz and vice versa. Granted, it’s hard to really tell with Bernard yelling “orgy porgy” in the background all the time. Man, that guy is a jerk.
Chapter 13 (And just when you thought you knew him.)
Seriously John, what the f? I get you are trying to be all noble and chivalrous when Lenina throws herself at you. Actually, she was going to rape you if you refused. Seriously, read the chapter again. But you fought her off, her advances were rebuffed and she was in route to get out and you hit her, on the back. Duuuude, that ain’t cool. You can’t hit a woman, especially when she’s running away. Oh how I wished you hadn’t gone “full savage” on her. I get it, she wasn’t who you thought she was. You thought she was this pure flower that required gentle hands and a pure heart before you were allowed to capture her beauty. But, she was just like every other girl in town, ready to jump in the sack with any dude who asks. Come on, she went with Bernard! So this one is on you my friend. You are the one who put undue expectations on the lady and when she didn’t live up to them, you go all crazy. Man, just when I was about to get on your side. Here’s some advice. Realize that you are in a world where romance is nonexistence and get with the program, or become a monk and really piss everyone off. Either way, just as the folks of the modern society are mistaken to only look at you with modern morality, you too can’t beat them for not living up to a morale code they have never been exposed to in their life. My thought, Brother John is a good title.
So there we have it everyone. Another eventful Bookworm Tuesday. What do you think? What am I missing, what do you agree with, what should I look at again? Remember, I am just a meager traveler on my way back to Geekdom. All help and guidance is appreciated, so please, leave comments below, and if you haven’t, subscribe to this blog on the right.
Next week, we finish up our read of Brave New World. If you have any suggestions of what next month’s book should be for Bookworm Tuesday, please leave them in the comments.
Until next time, go out, have some fun, enjoy some reading and don’t forget to check out the other topics on this blog, such as Monday Cinema Club, Anything Can Happen Wednesday, Throwback Thursday, and our weekly wrap up at Friday’s Week in Review.