Chapter 18 Notes from Brave New World

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Brave New World Chapter 18

Helmholtz goes to find the Savage, who looks ill. He asks him if he ate something that didn't agree with him, and the Savage says that he ate civilization, and that it poisoned and defiled him, and that he drank, according to Indian purification tradition, mustard and warm water. Helmholtz and Bernard are astonished at his self-punishment, and tell him that they have come to say goodbye before they are sent to an island. The Savage tells them that he asked to be sent away with them, and the Controller refused in order to continue the experiment of his immersion in society. He tells them that he too is planning to go away tomorrow, though he does not know where.

The Savage (John) travels through England until he reaches the lighthouse, believing it to be a difficult and harsh place to live. He has brought blankets, rope and string, nails, glue, tools, matches, pots and pans, seeds, and flour. He does not sleep his first night, and begs forgiveness from both western and reservation deities from Jesus to Pookong. He holds his arms out in crucifixion, begging in pain to be forgiven. He has many conflicting feelings. He has chosen the lighthouse because the view is so beautiful that it appears to be divine, yet he wonders who he is to be worthy of the hourly sight of loveliness. He climbs the stairs and looks up at the stars. He can see reeds and rushes, forest, water, spending entire days without seeing another human being.

He begins to farm the earth and cut trees; the physical labor makes him so happy that he is ashamed, thinking of Linda's unhappiness and the way he mistreated and abandoned her, and goes indoors to repent again. Later, three Delta-minus workers see him whipping himself, and the next day, reporters swarm around the lighthouse. They want to interview him, but the Savage curses him in Zuñi, the language of the Savage Reservation where he grew up, and sends the reporter on his way with a hard kick to his bottom. This makes major news in London, and more reporters show up and are similarly received. Helicopters arrive, and the Savage shoots them with arrows. Suddenly, he thinks of Lenina naked, soft, and tempting. He feels immense guilt and shame and whips himself in a frenzy, yelling terrible things about Lenina and apologies for his mother Linda.

A photographer from the Feely Corporation, which makes feelies, sensory interactive movies, has been hiding out near the lighthouse and catches the Savage's self-mutilation on film. He makes it into a film called The Savage of Surrey and it is an instant hit less than two weeks later. A great swarm of helicopters arrives at the lighthouse while the Savage is gardening. He runs for cover, then shakes the whip at them. They applaud and ask to see more of the whipping stunt, chanting "We want the whip!" Chapter 18, pg. 257 Things get rhythmic and riotous. All of a sudden, Lenina steps out of one of the helicopters, and her appearance drives him over the edge, which is what the crowd wanted. He attacks her with the whip, chanting "Fry, lechery, fry! ... Oh, the flesh!... Kill it, kill it," Chapter 18, pg. 258 and she shouts with fear for Henry Foster, who has already run away. The mob imitates his gestures, and then all of a sudden, somebody begins chanting "orgy-porgy", and this is exactly the riot of indulgence that it turns into. They do not leave until after midnight, and all are completely drugged on soma. The Savage lies in the brush, and wakes in the late morning. He wakes, remembers everything, and exclaims, "Oh, my God, my God!" Chapter 18, pg. 264

The next evening, a swarm of helicopters ten kilometers (over six miles) long show up, having heard about the previous night's orgy-porgy. The reporters walk into the open lighthouse and find that the Savage has hung himself.

"Just under the crown of the arch dangled a pair of feet.
'Mr. Savage!'
Slowly, very slowly, like two unhurried compass needles, the feet turned towards the right; north, north-east, east, south-east, south, south-south-west; then paused, and, after a few seconds, turned as unhurriedly back towards the left. South-south-west, south, south-east, east..."
Chapter 19, pg. 259

Topic Tracking: Sexuality 15

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