Chapter 8 Notes from Brave New World

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Brave New World Chapter 8

Bernard asks John to tell him his life story. John starts as far back as he can remember. He remembers Linda singing lullabies from The Other Place to him as a child. One day, he woke with a start to find a man in the bed with Linda. He hears his mother say, "Not with John here." He feels threatened by the man, who proceeds to lift John by his arm and lock him out of the room. John remembers that Linda was upset with him because he was playing with the little boys and because she has been reprimanded for not knowing how to weave. She calls them savages and he does not understand what she means by that.

Popé, who is Linda's lover, who John remembers, brings Linda mescal, a hallucinogenic, in liquid form. Linda likes it because its effect reminds her of soma. John remembers finding Linda being held down by a group of dark women who whip her. He tries to console her after they leave, and she reacts violently, calling him a little idiot and a beast, and shouts that he has become a savage and her becoming pregnant with him has ruined her chances of being able to return to The Other Place. Suddenly, she changes, and puts her arms around him. Sometimes she did not get up at all, and lay in bed with Popé and mescal all day, forgetting to cook or clean her son.

John remembers the happy times, when she tells him stories about The Other Place, about flying and nice smells and beautiful colors and dancing and cleanliness. He remembers too the old men of the pueblo telling him of all of the gods and creation myths. He loves all the strange and wonderful stories that he hears.

"Lying in bed, he would think of Heaven and London and Our Lady of Acoma and the rows and rows of babies in clean bottles and Jesus fling up and Linda flying up and the great Director of World hatcheries and Awonawilona." Chapter 8, pg. 128

John remembers that the other boys say bad things about Linda and throw stones at him because so many men come to see her and because she does not know how to mend his ragged clothes. She teaches him to read, and says that one day he will be able to read the only book she has from The Other Place, The Chemical and Bacteriological Conditioning of the Embryo. Practical Instructions for Beta Embryo-Store Workers.

The more they make fun of him, the more he reads, because he recognizes that they cannot read. Linda does not know the answers to his more detailed scientific questions, so he gets his information from the myths that the old men tell him and accepts this information as more definite. One day Popé brings him The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. The rhythm and beauty of the words remind him of the summer dances in the pueblo.

He watches the effect of the mescal on Linda, how she is deteriorating, and he hates Popé more and more. One day, thinking in his head of a quote from Shakespeare's play Macbeth, he decides to kill Popé with a knife, but Popé is too strong and catches his wrist, laughing at him. John feels tears of shame.

When John turns fifteen, Old Mitsima, an elder in the pueblo, teaches John pottery. They work all day and sing traditional songs and John feels pleasure at his achievement.

John witnesses the wedding of a girl named Kiakimé. He feels frustrated and hopeless because he realizes that he loved her and she is gone forever. He realizes once and for all that he is alone when he is not let into a special ceremony for men. He stands on the edge of a cliff and ponders jumping off. He sees blood dripping from his wrist. He has discovered Time and Death and God.

John has finished his story. He ends, saying that he is always alone. This awakens Bernard's own feelings of loneliness. John is surprised, because Linda has told him that in The Other Place, no one is ever alone. They exchange their feelings of loneliness and rejection and inferiority, and John tells him how he has fantasized and pretended to be Jesus crucified by scarring himself. Bernard is fascinated, though still disgusted at the thought of injury, dirt, or deformity. He asks John to come back to London with them, with a vengeful plan in mind, knowing full well that John is the illegitimate son of the Director. John asks that Linda come along as well. Bernard concurs. John quotes from another Shakespeare monologue, which starts with the phrase, "O brave new world..." John thinks of Lenina, beautiful and benevolent like an angel, and flushes, asking Bernard if he is married to her. Bernard does not understand what that means. John explains that it means forever, and Bernard laughs at the ridiculousness of this and tells him no. John is overjoyed and wishes to leave for London at once.

Topic Tracking: Inferiority 12

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