Brave New World
Aldous Huxley
Contributed by Sharen Felty
Chapter 3

The Director brings the students into the garden. Several hundred children, all naked, are playing there. The Director says that “in our Ford’s day,” most games needed nothing more than a few sticks, one or two balls, and perhaps a net. These kinds of simple apparatus did not boost consumption. In the World State, all games must use complicated machinery. An example is “Centrifugal Bumble-puppy.”

A child’s cry is heard from the bushes. It is a little boy. The boy was feeling uncomfortable with the sexual play in which the children were pushed to take part. The boy is taken to see a psychologist immediately. The Director surprises the students by stating that sexual play among children and adolescents was once seen as abnormal and immoral. He starts explaining negative effects of sexual repression. A man interrupts him. The man is Mustapha Mond. The Director introduces him as “his fordship.” Four thousand electric clocks all strike four at once at the complex. This is the mark of a shift change. Lenina and Henry Foster go up to the changing rooms. They are going to get ready for their date. As they make their way to the rooms, Henry sees Bernard Marx and snubs him. He has heard of Bernard’s unsavory reputation.

The story suddenly starts to move back and forth between three different scenes. It pushes in Mustapha Mond’s speech to the boys with the scenes of Henry’s discussion in the male changing room and Lenina’s conversation in her changing room. These notes will describe Mustapha Mond’s speech first and then get into the two conversations in the changing rooms.

Mustapha Mond is the Resident Controller for Western Europe. He is also one of a mere ten World Controllers. The students are overawed by his presence. Mond alludes to a Ford quotation when he says “History is bunk.” He does this when explaining why the students have not been given any history instruction other than what the Director explains to them. The Director gives him a nervous look. He has been told that Mond has forbidden books, such as collections of poetry and Bibles. He is said to keep them in a safe. Mond becomes aware of the Director’s nervousness. He reassures him in a condescending way that he has no plan to corrupt the students.

Mond starts to tell the group about life in the time before the World State’s policy of strict control over social relations, reproduction, and child-rearing. He compares the restricted channeling of desire and emotion to water in a pipe, under pressure. A single hole creates a strong jet. Yet numerous small holes render gentle streams of water. He explains that strong emotion is caused by delayed gratification of desires, sexual repression, and family relationships. This strong emotion, he states, will cause instability in the World State. He says that instability rising from strong emotions have caused social unrest, war, and disease in the past.

Mond discusses the fact that there was initial resistance to the use of hypnopaedia, the caste system, and artificial gestation in the World State. However, once the Nine Years’ War was over, which included terrible biological and chemical warfare, as well as a propaganda campaign, which included the banning of all books written before a.f. 150, resistance started to weaken. Families, museums, Shakespeare, and religion all faded into obscurity. The year in which the Model T was introduced was selected as the beginning of the new era. Everyone cut the tops off their crosses to make their cars into Ts. Soma was created after six years of pharmaceutical research. It is seen as the perfect drug. Old age no longer presented an issue, as that was solved by science. People were able to keep the physical and mental characteristics of youth all through their lives. One sitting and thinking by him- or herself was forbidden. “Leisure from pleasure” was also not allowed.

Bernard overhears Henry and the Assistant Predestinator talking about Lenina. This is at the end of the workday, in the changing room. The Predestinator makes the suggestion that Henry and Lenina could go to a “feely” (a movie that uses the senses of touch and smell). Henry shows his admiration of Lenina in how he speaks of her. He declares to the Assistant that he ought to “have her” at some point. Bernard is revolted by this conversation. The Assistant sees his disapproving look and he and Henry try to bait him. Henry makes Bernard the offer of some soma, making him very angry. Bernard curses them, and they laugh.

The scene moves to a showering room and public bathroom. Lenina and Fanny Crowne are talking. Fanny is nineteen. She has begun taking a Pregnancy Substitute on a temporary basis, because she feels a bit “out of sorts.” Pregnancy Substitute mimics pregnancy’s hormonal effects. Fanny is surprised that Lenina and Henry are still dating on an exclusive basis after four months. She indicates that Lenina should become a more virtuous World State member by becoming more promiscuous. Lenina says that Bernard Marx, who is an Alpha Plus hypnopaedia specialist, has asked her to come to the Savage Reservation. Fanny declares that Bernard has a bad reputation for spending too much time alone and being smaller and not as confident as other Alphas. Fanny indicates that there are rumors that someone may have inadvertently put alcohol into his blood surrogate when he was still in the bottle. Lenina opts to accept Bernard’s invitation. This is because she believes that Bernard is sweet and is eager to see the Reservation. Fanny looks with admiration at the Malthusian belt that Lenina has. It is a contraceptive holder. Henry gave it to her as a gift.


During the time when we see the Director and Mustapha Mond tell the boys about the abstract ways in which the World State works, there are interspliced scenes showing Lenina and Bernard that demonstrate how the society works in action. The discomfort the boys feel at the word mother, the children’s sexual play at recess, the discussion between Henry and the Predestinator, and Lenina’s casual nakedness all demonstrate how traditional taboos in relation to sexuality have been thrown away. Bernard is the only character who puts up any kind of protest about how the system works, and he does so almost silently. The commodification of sex makes him feel uncomfortable, and this makes him be seen as a misfit. One should note that the novel makes clear that Bernard’s sense of dissatisfaction with the World State and its ways comes from how isolated he is within it. We are introduced to him with the words, “Those who feel themselves despised do well to look despising.” While it is true that he may be a rebel, his sense of rebellion does not stem from ideology. Rather, it is caused by the feeling that he will never completely belong in the society in which he lives. This element of Bernard’s character will be shown to be more significant as the story progresses.

The World State not only uses prenatal and postnatal conditioning but also the forces of social criticism and social conformity to control its citizens’ behavior. Fanny, Lenina’s friend, tells her that The Director dislikes it when workers in the Hatchery fail to conform to expected standards of promiscuity. Word State citizens must always live in apprehension of being perceived as doing something “abnormal” or “shameful.” They lack any kind of private life. We learn from Lenina that the sole activity anyone does when alone is sleep and that even that cannot be done alone forever. Whether they are at work or not, all citizens are under constant surveillance to make sure that their bodies and minds are always in line with the moral value system of the World State. People are always being watched by both their peers and superiors, such as Fanny and the Director.

When Mustapha Mond makes a lengthy speech on the history of the World State, he puts the blame for the old society’s social instability on previously revered institutions such as marriage, motherhood, love, and family. Mond says that while else ancient institutions shared the task of mediating conflict between the interests of the individual and of society with the state, there was a lack of alignment between the personal and State institutions. As love, family, and marriage lead to divided allegiances, people could not always be depended upon to select the path of greatest stability. Individuals who are acting freely are forced to constantly weigh potential actions’ moral value and consequences. Mond posits that divided allegiances of individuals lead to social instability. It is for this reason that the World State has done away with every trace of any type of non-State institution. Citizens are deliberately socialized to have allegiance solely to the State. There is strong discouragement of every kind of personal connection. Conditioning helps to ensure that even the wish to have such connections does not exist. The ready availability of soma and sex, as well as the physical satisfaction available through the feelies and ignorance of history and other ways of life, make sure that the World State’s way of life is not threatened.

The Director and Mustapha Mond devote a lot of time to discussion of the importance of consumption. They are truly referring to the creation of a population that will perpetually desire more. This will be a captive market that is produced through conditioning that ensures they will always yearn for the goods the World State produces. The consumption culture lets the government behave as a supplier, driving the economy and generating a happy community that is entirely dependent on the supplier of its goods. Mustapha Mond and the Director’s discussion on economics refers not only to the economy of goods and money but also everything else, including sex. In the World State, everything operates in accordance with the laws of supply and demand. Citizens are conditioned and expected to see themselves and one another as commodities for consumption, like a manufactured good. Bernard rebels against this idea when he points out that the Predestinator and Henry see Lenina as a “piece of meat.” Lenina perceives herself in the same way. The World State never finds itself called upon to justify consumption as a way of life. It is assumed to be the only way things can work.

We see in what Mustapha Mond says about history that the novel gives some thought that a topic that George Orwell explores in detail in 1984. Implicit in the statement that Mond makes that “history is bunk” and what he says about the history of the World State, is the reality that Mond and the other World Controllers are the only ones with historical knowledge. This makes sure that their positions of power are secure. Orwell in 1984 describes this manipulation’s mechanisms, as Oceania’s government deliberately revises history so that their political goals will be served from moment to moment. Active revision isn’t necessary in the World State because the people are conditioned to think that “history is bunk,” just as Mond says. AS they are conditioned to believe that history is worthless, they are held captive by the present and not unable to imagine other ways of living. The reason why Mond sets aside time to explain the World State’s history to the boys is unclear. However, it seems to be a convenient way of explaining a potential pathway from the world of the reader to the reality of the World State.

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