Notes on Characters from Brave New World

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Brave New World Major Characters

The Director (Tomakin): The Director is the first character we meet. He is leading a tour in the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre. It turns out that he impregnated a woman who was then lost to the Savage Reservation. When Bernard and Lenina travel to the Reservation, they find the woman, Linda, and her son, John (the Savage), and as the director is reprimanding Bernard, Bernard arranges for the appearance of John and Linda. The Director, humiliated by his illegitimate wife and son, leaves, and this is basically the last we hear of him.

Lenina Crowne: Lenina is the main female character. She is nineteen years old. She is typical of the new civilized person, both intellectually and sexually. She is the female archetype and also the ideal: very attractive, popular, and 'pneumatic.' She is first seen as a lab worker, and the companion of Henry Foster. Unlike most of the main characters, she is of the Beta, or secondary, caste in the social hierarchy (others are Alpha). Bernard is extremely interested in her, and luckily for him, she is also interested; eventually they go out on a date and following the date, they have sex. She goes with him to The Savage Reservation, where she meets John, who soon after, is referred to as the Savage. She becomes interested in John, but he rejects her; she is typical of a civilization he does not understand. This makes her sad and frustrated. Eventually, she shows up at his refuge, and he beats her with his whip.

Bernard Marx: Bernard Marx is one of the most important male characters. He works for the Psychology Department of the Central London Hatcheries and Conditioning Centre. He is of the top social caste, an Alpha Plus Intellectual. He is the only upper-caste member in the book besides Helmholtz Watson who voices disapproval and bitterness toward society. He is extremely disgruntled. He has a crushing sense of inferiority due to his physical condition. Although he is an Alpha, he is shorter and thinner than the typical male of his social status, and some say he was incorrectly exposed to alcohol while being decanted at the Central London Hatcheries and Conditioning Centre. He voices thoughts that go against the governmental conditioning, such as the beauty of the ocean and the moon, the idea of monogamy (only one sexual partner), and the desire to be alone. Despite his inadequacies, he is intriguing to Lenina, who travels with him to the Savage Reservation. He connects with the illegitimate son of the Director, John, (later the Savage), and arranges for John’s transport back to London, where he uses his presence to humiliate the Director. This brings him a very short-lived fame. He becomes very popular upon the introduction of the Savage, but his popularity dies down and he is back where he started when the Savage refuses to show himself off at a meeting and then causes a riot at the Hospital for the Dying. Eventually, the World Controller Mustapha Mond deports Bernard Marx and his friend Helmholtz Watson to an island for other unorthodox figures, removing their threatening ideas from the ideal society.

The Savage (John): We first meet John when Bernard and Lenina go to the Savage Reservation. He is the illegitimate son of Linda, a Beta (second) class woman who was impregnated twenty-five years ago by the Director (Tomakin), and then disappeared and brought up in the Reservation. He becomes a curiosity in London, after traveling back with Bernard and Lenina. Bernard uses his illegitimate status to embarrass the Director. Lenina comes on to him several times, but although he finds her beautiful, almost to the point of obsession, he violently rejects her because he finds her to be a manifestation of the new civilization he despises. When his mother, Linda, dies, he causes a riot in the Hospital for the Dying and is arrested. He flees to an abandoned lighthouse with the hopes of starting over, creating his own self-made, independent, and organic society. But even this turns him into a public figure when two workers record him whipping himself in atonement. Despairing, having lost all his ideals and hope, he hangs himself. Reporters find him, and this is the final event of the novel.

Mustapha Mond: Mustapha Mond is the World Controller for Western Europe, one of ten World Controllers. We first meet him on the tour of the Central London Hatcheries and Conditioning Centre, where he tells the students of the horrifying familial patterns, such as monogamy and the mother-child bond, that existed before the new civilization was erected. We find out later that he was once a very successful scientist who unfortunately did too much independent work. He was threatened with deportation to an island if he did not change his ways, and given the alternative of going to Controller Training. He picked the Controller Training. He has an important conversation with the Savage following the Savage’s arrest. They speak of God, literature, and other subversive subjects. Although Mustapha Mond has read the Bible and some Shakespeare, he insists that only he who makes the rules can break them. He connects with the Savage on some levels, in the grand scheme of things, he is by no means a character against the establishment.

Helmholtz Watson: Helmholtz Watson is Bernard’s confidante. He is a lecturer at the College of Emotional Engineering. He is strongly built and handsome, but his remarkable intelligence isolates him from colleagues and peers. Amidst his excellence with sports, women, and activities, he agonizes over an interest in something else, but of what he is not sure. He is unsatisfied. He is a frustrated writer. He too goes against the establishment, which get him in trouble when his bosses, the powers-that-be, discover a poem he has written about being alone. Eventually, through his association with Bernard and the Savage, he is deported to an island.

Ford: Ford is the surrogate, and surrogate word, for God in the new civilization. People say things like 'Oh, Ford!; and 'Fordey!' The new sign, replacing the cross, is a T, or a cross with the top chopped off. 'Ford' is later revealed to be a corruption of the word Freud, otherwise known as the last name of the psychologist Sigmund Freud, whose psycho-sexual theories are controversial. Mustapha Mond explains that Ford, or Freud, as he used to call himself when speaking of psychological matters, was the first to reveal the perversion, misery, and dangers of family life.

Minor Characters

Henry Foster: Henry Foster is one of Lenina’s lovers, the first we meet. He helps give the tour of the Central London Hatcheries and Conditioning Centre.

Linda: Linda is the mother of the Savage, or John. She was of the Beta, or second caste. Twenty-five years ago, she went on a vacation with Tomakin, the Director, to the Savage Reservation in New Mexico. While there, she hit her head and disappeared, and he returned to civilization without her. Later, she is rescued by people of the Reservation, and unable to escape, gives birth to John. She is trapped, and cannot return to civilization now that she has had a live birth and has lived in the Reservation. She returns to London with her son, Lenina, and Bernard. She is put on permanent soma-holiday and observed as a specimen of the ugliness of old age. She wakes just once, mistaking John for her lover on the Reservation, recognizes him as her son, and dies of the shock of this realization.

George Edzel: George Edzel is one of the men with whom Lenina has had sex He is of the same caste as Bernard, yet he is a finer, more typical specimen. Lenina comments that he is charming, yet she wishes his ears weren’t so big.

Benito Hoover: Benito Hoover is another man that Lenina has slept with. She comments that he is charming, yet recalls that he really is too hairy with his clothes off. He is very good-natured, which irks Bernard to no end. He is the sunny reality which Bernard does not like or trust, though Bernard accepts his friendship during his popular phase upon the discovery of the Savage.

Popé: Popé is Linda’s Indian lover while she is on the Reservation. He has long, black braids and wears a large silver bracelet with turquoise. John resents Popé very much. For one thing, Popé brings his mother mescal, which keeps her drugged and unapproachable, then leaves her sick. He even tries to stab Popé at one point, but Popé is too strong and catches his wrist.

Fanny Crowne: Fanny Crowne is one of Lenina’s coworkers and a good friend. Through her discussions with Lenina in Chapter 3, we learn much of the sexual politics of Brave New World. That they share the same last name is purely coincidental, since only ten thousand last names exist in the whole World State.

Morgana Rothschild: Morgana is a very minor character. Bernard, without thinking, sits next to her at the orgy-porgy and immediately regrets it because she has a unibrow. She is more enthusiastic about him, though.

Fifi Bradlaugh: Fifi is a minor character as well, appearing only at the orgy-porgy. Bernard is angry with himself for sitting next to the ugly Morgana and the intimidatingly attractive Fifi, and wishes he’d chosen the seat between Clara and Joanna.

Clara Deterdling: Clara has pretty much the exact same minor role as Joanna, as an attractive guest at the orgy-porgy who Bernard compares with the unattractive Morgana Rothschild. Bernard wishes he’d sat next to Clara and Joanna instead, because they are more attractive, or as the novel’s lingo goes, pneumatic.

reporters: They swarm around the savage to get his story.

Reuben Rabinovitch: Reuben Rabinovitch is a little Polish boy that World Controller Mustapha Mond tells the student tour group about. He was the catalyst for the discovery of hypnopaedia, or sleep-teaching, which is widely used at the Central London Hatcheries and Conditioning Centre.

Tom Kawaguchi: Tom is a man at Bernard’s Solidarity Service day. Bernard is angry at himself for not sitting between Joanna Diesel and Clara Deterdling, and calls Tom a lout when Tom enters late and gets that coveted seat.

Joanna Diesel: Joanna has the same minor role as Clara Deterdling, as an attractive guest at the orgy-porgy who Bernard compares with the unattractive Morgana Rothchild. Bernard wishes he’d sat next to Clara and Joanna instead, because they are more attractive, or as the novel’s lingo goes, pneumatic.

Old Mitsima: An elder in the pueblo who teaches John pottery.

Kiakime: The marriage of this pueblo girl to another man makes John long for his missed opportunities. He stands at the edge of a cliff and contemplates suicide, discovering Time, Death and God.

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