Brave New World Chapter 1
The novel opens in the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre. Over the door hangs the shield of the World State, on it written the motto "Community, Identity, Stability". Chapter 1, pg. 1 It is the year of stability A.F. 632. The thirty-four story building is cold, bleak and sterile.
The Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning is leading a tour group of young students around a laboratory. They are scribbling down, word for word, whatever he says right into their notebooks. His scientific description that follows is long and extremely detailed. It is a privilege and an honor that the Director himself is speaking to a student group. The director is tall and thin with good posture, and he appears neither old nor young. He begins to explain the Hatcheries, starting with the incubators, where the ova and the male gametes are stored for the fertilization process. The modern fertilizing process begins with the removal of the woman's ovaries. "...the operation undergone voluntarily for the good of Society, not to mention the fact that it carries a bonus amounting to six months' salary," Chapter 1, pg. 5 The removed ovaries are used for a sort of test-tube reproduction. There is a complicated and detailed process in the lab through which the ovary is preserved, put in a dish with sperm, and fertilized.
After fertilization, the next step determines where the zygote will fit in the caste system. The caste system goes, in descending order, Alpha, Beta, Delta, Epsilon. Alphas are the top of the caste system, the most physically and mentally capable, Betas are underneath, and Epsilons and Deltas are at the bottom, having no social function and operating simply as workers. The Alphas and Betas remain in the incubators, and the Deltas and Epsilons are brought out of the incubators after thirty-six hours to undergo Bokanovsky's Process. While normally, the egg buds into one adult, bokanovskification divides the egg into up to ninety-six buds, all of which form into a human being. He hails this process as one of the major instruments of social stability, and suggests that to bokanovskify indefinitely, would solve the whole problem. An ovary can yield up to fifteen thousand adult individuals.
The tour group passes Henry Foster, who informs them that the record for bokanovskification is over seventeen thousand. He joins the tour.
The bottles with the individual buds, and the group of students, eventually move on to the Social Predestination Room, where Henry Foster continues the tour. The embryos are shaken into familiarity with movement and tested to determined gender, but most are made into freemartins, or infertile beings. The embryos are exposed to differing amounts of oxygen-the less oxygen, the lower the human intelligence, and the lower the human intelligence, the lower the caste. Therefore, Epsilons get the lowest amount of oxygen. The labs can also speed up the maturity rate of workers so they are fully developed as early as six years old. Some of the training gets workers ready for their jobs and climates; for instance, they are conditioned by blasts of hot air in tunnels if they are destined to go to work in the tropics.
They pass by a nurse, who is probing one of the bottles with a long syringe. Henry Foster recognizes her as a woman named Lenina, who is described as uncommonly pretty, and she smiles at him. She is also described as having purple eyes, lupus, and red coral teeth. He confirms with her that they will be meeting on the roof at ten to five, as usual.
They pass by but do not have time to see the conditioning of the Alpha Plus Intellectuals. Predestination does not stop with biology; it continues on, as we see in the next chapter, into the realm of social nurturing.