Aldous HUXLEY - Brave New World


'Brave New World'

'O wonder!

How many goodly creatures are there here!

How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,

That has such people in't!'

William Shakespeare, 'The Tempest' Act V, Scene I


Chapter eight of Huxley's 'Brave New World' is about John, the savage, son to Linda, a woman who stranded in the South American savage reservation years ago while pregnant with him - his father being the man who now is the DHC for London - telling civilized Bernard Marx about his growing up in the reservation.

Unwanted by those around him, who see him merely as an outcast, he had to strive in order to comply with this society's rules for all of his lifetime, yet was unable to blend in. The story of John's life as he tells it, is one of constant doubt whether his mother really cares for him, of pain as he is discriminated against by literally everyone in the reservation, and of a longing for the 'other place', of which his mother speaks as a second paradise of sorts (of course, the word paradise does not have any meaning to her, for religion is unheard of where she comes from).

John tells Bernard about how he learned to read, and thus overcame the feeling of inferiority he had harbored for long, because of not being accepted by the others as one of them. It was Linda who taught him to read by drawing pictures on the wall with a piece of charcoal, and then writing the corresponding words beneath them. Later, when he had apprehended reading well enough, she gave him a book, the only one she possessed, titled 'The Chemical and Bacteriological Conditioning of the Embryo. Practical Instructions for Beta Embryo-Store Workers' to read in. Later still, Popé, Linda's lover, whom John had never liked and once, in a childish attempt to kill him, had even stabbed in the shoulder, brought him another book: 'The Complete Works of William Shakespeare'.

From this point on, be began finding a sanctuary in the world of Shakespeare's plays. He read them all, and now knows them all. Eventually, when offered by Bernard the possibility of leaving the area of the savage reservation and living in civilized London, he joyfully accepts, referring to the outside as a place described in the Bard's 'The Tempest' by the character Miranda, who, much like himself, has lived on a remote island for all her life, with her father Prospero being the only other human being she ever knew. 'O wonder!' Miranda says when finally facing other people, 'How many goodly creatures are there here, how beauteous mankind is,' and concludes, 'O brave new world, that has such people in't!'