Brave New World Glossary



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Brave New World

Glossary
Alpha: the highest of the five castes in Brave New World; scientists and thinkers

Beta: the second highest caste of the five castes in Brave New World; the technicians

Bokanovsky Process: the process that splits a fertilized human egg into many different identical eggs; can produce up to 96 eggs from one original one

caste: a strictly limited social class

Community Sing: a religious gathering for the lower castes

conditioning: training or brainwashing to believe something

decanting: removing the fully developed embryos from their bottles

Delta: the fourth of five castes in Brave New World; they wear khaki

dystopian: describing a negative utopia

ectogenesis: birth outside the uterus

Epsilon: the lowest of five castes on Brave New World; they wear black

erotic play: a children’s activity to encourage them to be promiscuous and uncaring about sexual faithfulness

eugenics: selective breeding; genetic engineering

euphoria: a state of extreme happiness and contentment

feelies: a movie that lets the audience actually feel the actions and emotions that are happening on the screen

Ford: Henry Ford, the creator of the conveyor-belt assembly line and mass production; the person worshipped by people in Brave New World

freemartin: a sterilized woman in Brave New World

Gamma: the third of five castes in Brave New World; they wear green

hedonism: the pursuit of pleasure as the most important objective in life

hypnopaedia: sleep-teaching

Malpais: the name of the Savage Reservation in New Mexico

Malthusian belt: a belt that women wear to hold birth control devices

Malthusian drill: a drill performed to practice using birth control

Neo-Pavlovian

conditioning: the process of training someone to respond in a certain way

Orgy-Porgy: a religious rite in which participants have indiscriminate sex with others to develop a feeling of solidarity in the group

pneumatic: curvy, well developed

Podsnap’s

technique: process of increasing the rate of development of human embryos

predestination: deciding in advance what a person’s life will be like, where people will work, what class they will be, what job they will have in Brave New World

pregnancy substitute: getting benefits without being pregnant

Savage Reservation: a place in New Mexico Solidarity Service: a religious service involving 12 men and women; they meet in a circle and through common emotional and physical experiences become one with each other

soma: a drug that is used to control the emotions and actions of Brave New World’s people by keeping them happy and content; in history, Hindus used it

surrogate: a substitute for something

T-Model: equivalent of the cross; modeled after Henry Ford’s Model T car

VPS: Violent Passion Surrogate, drug taken to simulate sex



Brave New World

Study Questions

Chapter I

  1. The Director is lecturing to a group of students. How would you characterize the group?

  2. What is Bokanovsky’s Process?

  3. Describe the Podsnap technique.

  4. The slogan of Brave New World is “Community, Identity, Stability.” What devices are described in this chapter that help society achieve these goals?

  5. Why are the Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons made to be inferior and less intelligent than the Alphas and Betas?

  6. How does the description of the Hatchery establish the tone and feeling of the book?

  7. Write a letter to a friend describing a visit you have made to the Hatchery and Conditioning Centre. Be sure to include your reaction to what you have seen as well as a brief description of the Centre.

(P.S. “Centre” is the British spelling of the word. American English spells it “center.”)

Study Questions

Chapter II

  1. Why are Gamma, Delta and Epsilon children conditioned to dislike flowers and books?

  2. Why are the students disgusted and repelled by the words “birth,” “mother” and father”?

  3. How is hypnopaedia used in Brave New World?

  4. On page 24, the Director refers to “Our Ford.” How is this similar to the religious phrase common in our world, “Our world”?

  5. If Henry Ford is the basis of the religion of this society, what values does this religion believe in?

  6. There is an old saying, “Everything has its cost.”

What price are people paying to live in this utopia?

  1. In what ways are we “conditioned” today?

  1. by our peers?

  2. by our parents?

  3. by advertising?

  1. Compare common childhood activities we have with those in Brave New World.

  2. The slogan of Brave New World is “Community, Identity, Stability.” What devices are described in this chapter that help society achieve these goals?


Study Questions

Chapter III

  1. What is the State’s attitude toward marriage, family, and close personal relationship?

  2. Why does the Utopia make the idea of “family” something unacceptable and unsavory?

  3. How does Bernard differ from other Alphas?

  4. Why is the Nine Year’s War important?

  5. What would be the disadvantages of living in a world where everyone belongs to everyone else?

  6. Why does Mustapha Mond say, “History is bunk”?

  7. Why is sex so acceptable in Brave New World?

Study Questions

Chapter IV

  1. How does Bernard feel around lower-caste Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons, and why does he feel this way?

  2. What does the word “pneumatic” mean on page 60?

  3. What kind of person is Helmholtz Watson?

  4. What is Watson’s attitude toward the work he does?

  5. What is the tone of the conversation between Bernard and Helmholtz?

  6. What do Bernard and Helmholtz have in common?

Study Questions

Chapter V

  1. Why is soma a necessity in Brave New World?

  2. In what ways is Ford in Brave New World similar to Jesus Christ in our world? In what ways are the two different?

  3. Lenina and Henry go out. Where do they go, and what kind of evening do they spend together?

  4. Compare this evening out with a typical evening out in our society.

  5. How is the Solidarity Service similar to and different from the night club scene?

  6. In what ways is the Solidarity Service like modern church services?

  7. Why does Huxley juxtapose these two scenes in this chapter?


Study Questions

Chapter VI

  1. How does Bernard’s attitude toward dating and casual sex differ from that of society?

  2. Why is the Director upset after he tells Bernard about his own visit to the Reservation when he was a young man?


Study Questions

Chapter VII

  1. Compare and contrast the religious rituals on the Reservation with the Solidarity Service in chapter 5.

  2. What is Lenina’s response to the reservation?

  3. Why do you think Huxley chose a Native American reservation as the example of a more primitive and civilization?


Study Questions

Chapter VIII

  1. What words would you choose to characterize John?

  2. What words would you choose to characterize Linda?

  3. Why can’t Linda adjust to the society on the Reservation?

  4. What book was very important in teaching John to read?

  5. Linda wanted to teach John the ways of her upbringing in Brave New World but could not. Why not?

Study Questions

Chapter IX

  1. Why is Bernard bringing Linda and John back to Brave New World?

  2. What does John think love is?

  3. John’s quotation comes from Shakespeare’s The Tempest (Act V, scene 1, lines 182-184) where Miranda, a young woman who has led a sheltered life, says upon meeting the newcomers to the island,

“O, wonder!

How many goodly creatures are there here!

How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,

That has such people in it!”



What is he feeling when he says, “O brave new world that has such people in it” on page 141?

  1. In what ways does John see himself as the Miranda of Brave New World?

  2. How does John’s reaction to Brave New World compare to Linda’s reaction to the Savage Reservation?

Study Questions

Chapter X

  1. Why it is ironic that the Director of Hatcheries is John’s father?

  2. John comments to Bernard, “If one’s different, one’s bound to be lonely.” Respond to this quote by discussing a character in the book (John, Bernard, someone else) who feels he or she is different and, therefore, lonely.

Study Questions

Chapter XI

  1. How has Bernard changed since he returned to Brave New World with John?

  2. On page 162, John again says, “O brave new world that has such people on it.” What is the tone o this compared to the first time he says it on page 141?

  3. What is the effect of the Bokanovsky groups on John after he visits the factory?

  4. How do the feelies affect John?

Study Questions

Chapter XII

  1. As Lenina leaves with the Archbishop, she looks at the moon. Why is this important?

  2. Why won’t Mustapha Mond publish the biology paper?

  3. Why won’t Helmholtz Watson’s poem be published?

  4. What is Huxley satirizing when he includes Helmholtz’s poem in this chapter?

  5. What does Helmholtz think of Shakespeare?

  6. How does Huxley convey his ideas of happiness and friendship in this chapter?

Study Questions

Chapter XIII

  1. Why does Lenina make a pass at John?

  2. Why does John reject Lenina?

  3. Why does John see his relationship with Lenina like that of Romeo and Juliet and then later like that of Othello and Desdemona?

  4. What is the nature of male-female relationship in this novel?

Study Questions

Chapter XIV

  1. How does John react to the children in the ward at the hospital where his mother is dying, and why does he respond this way?

  2. Describe Brave New World’s view of death, and explain how the hospital workers treat Linda’s death.

  3. Is it possible to prepare children for the reality of death? If not, why not? If so, how can this be done?

Study Questions

Chapter XV

  1. Once again, John quotes Miranda’s words on page 216: “O brave new world…” What is the feeling behind the quote this time?

  2. Why does John deliver a harangue to the workers in the hospital?

  3. Describe our own society’s view of death. How do we approach it?

  4. Why doesn’t Bernard help John?

Study Questions

Chapter XVI

  1. What is your opinion of Mustapha Mond?

  2. Why is John not allowed to go into exile with Bernard and Helmholtz?

  3. How does Bernard change when he learns that he is being exiled to Iceland?

  4. According to Mustapha Mond, what are the reasons for supporting Brave New World’s approach to life?

Study Questions

Chapter XVII


  1. Why should citizens not support the practices of Brave New World?

  2. What are John’s feelings in this chapter?

Study Questions

Chapter XVIII

  1. Why does John go to the lighthouse?

  2. What is society’s response to John’s move?

  3. How does Lenina act when she visits John?

  4. When the crowd begins to imitate him, what does John do in response?

  5. Why does John commit suicide?

  6. How does John affect the society of Brave New World?

BRAVE NEW WORLD

DEBATE TOPICS

OVERVIEW

The themes and philosophies in BRAVE NEW WORLD can lead to lively debates after the reading of the novel. We have listed several starting points for running debates.



  1. Drugs should be legal and cheap.

  2. Society’s fascination with drugs is leading us to a society just like Brave New World.

  3. Allowing parents to design the “perfect” baby by choosing specific genes at a sperm bank is an unethical decision.

  4. “Scientific research should/should not be limited by ethical constraints.” (Taken from the San Diego County Speech Association 1991 Lincoln-Douglas Debates topic.)

  5. Requiring Malthusian belts would be a good way to cope with the problem of teen pregnancy.

  6. Social stability is more important than individual rights and freedoms.


BRAVE NEW WORLD

QUOTATIONS

BRAVE NEW WORLD has a number of significant quotations. They are listed below with their page numbers.

For each quotation, respond with your reactions, observations, and reflections.



  1. “Community, Identity, Stability” (Huxley 1).

  2. “That is the secret of happiness and virtue—liking what you’ve got to do” (15).

  3. “Civilization is sterilization” (110 and 121).

  4. “What fun it would be if one didn’t have to think about happiness” (180-181).

  5. “As a victim, the Savage possessed, for Bernard, this enormous superiority over the others: that he was accessible. One of the principal functions of a friend is to suffer (in a milder and symbolic form) the punishment that we should like, but are unable, to inflict upon our enemies” (182).

  6. “You can’t make flivvers without steel—and you can’t make tragedies without social instability” (226).

  7. “Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with the overcompensations for misery” (277).

  8. “Every change is a menace to stability. That’s another reason why we’re so chary of applying new inventions. Every discovery in pure science is potentially subversive; even science must sometimes be treated as a possible enemy” (231).

  9. “What’s the point of truth or beauty or knowledge when the anthrax bombs are popping all around you?” (234).

  10. “God isn’t compatible with machinery and scientific medicine and universal happiness. You must make your choice” (240).

  11. “Civilization has absolutely no need of nobility or heroism. These things are symptoms of political inefficiency. In a properly organized society like ours, nobody has any opportunities for being noble or heroic. Conditions have got to be thoroughly unstable before the occasion can arise” (234).

  12. Mond: “Christianity without tears—that’s what soma is” (244).

  13. “Nothing costs enough here” (245).


BRAVE NEW WORLD

SLOGANS

Slogans are designed to be catchy, condensed phrases to get people’s attention and imprint an idea in their memories. Advertisers, political candidates, and many companies use them to publicize their ideas and persuade people that their product, candidate, or idea is the best.



  1. Twelve slogans from BRAVE NEW WORLD are listed below. You will be assigned one slogan. Working in pairs or small groups, find images, news events, or modern situations to advertise your slogan.

  1. “Civilization is sterilization.”

  2. “Community, Identity, Stability”

  3. “A gramme is better than a damn.”

  4. “Everyone belongs to everyone else.”

  5. “When the individual feels, the community reels.”

  6. “One cubic centimeter cures ten gloomy sentiments.”

  7. “Ending is better than mending.”

  8. “The more stitches, the less riches.”

  9. “Progress is lovely, isn’t it?”

  10. “Never put off till tomorrow the fun you can have today.”

  11. “Was and will make me ill.”

  12. “Everybody’s happy now.”



  1. Now think of five slogans that you have heard recently. These can come from any source—commercials, billboards, radio, the internet, and so on. List them below and comment on their meaning and purpose.


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