Continuing on with our group discussion of Brave New World from last class, we have covered the topics involving examples of “Emotions” and “Happiness.” Like before, each group had to make a claim and find textual evidence that supports their claim.
Group covering the topic on “Emotions”
Claim: Humans develop through all emotions, including negative ones. We see it through Lenina with her romantic feelings towards John.
1) Near the bottom of page 156 Lenina says, “But, John … I thought you were … I mean, aren’t you? …”
With this quote, we see that Lenina was rejected for the first time by anyone in the novel. This rejection makes her experience feelings of disbelief and sadness.
2) Last paragraph of pg. 157, “One gramme, she decided, would not be enough; hers had been more than a one-gramme affliction.”
This quote shows that Lenina uses soma in order to resolve her internal afflictions.
3) Pg. 159 4th paragraph, “‘In a few minutes,’ she had said to herself, as she entered the room, ‘I shall be seeing him, talking to him, telling him’ (for she had come with her mind made up) ‘that I like him – more than anybody I’ve ever known.'”
Here we see an example of Lenina feeling anxious to see John. Once again, Lenina has never experienced these emotions throughout the novel.
4) Pg. 160 1st paragraph, “‘Perhaps it’s because he doesn’t like me.'”
Lenina is aware of her negative emotions and she seems to be the only one feeling this as an individual. She comes to the conclusion, that John didn’t show up to the party because of her.
5) Pg. 163 after the poem, “The golden T lay shining on Lenina’s bosom. Sportively, the Arch-Community Songster caught hold of it, sportively he pulled, pulled. “I think,” said Lenina suddenly, breaking a long silence. “I’d better take a couple of grammes of soma.””
Lenina feels depressed due to her feelings towards John, and she copes with it using soma.
6) Pg. 172 3rd paragraph from the bottom, “Half a gramme had been enough to make Lenina forget her fears and embarrassments.”
The narrator admits that Lenina is able to feel these emotions but she is blocking them with soma.
* A Side Note – Be careful when choosing quotes to support your claims/Thesis. When looking at quotes, they may seem to relate to your claims at first, but when you put them together they tend to drift away from the claims you are trying to prove.
Adding on to the discussion on “Emotions” from others
1) Bottom of pg. 158 – 159, “It was only in zuñi that the savage could adequately express what he felt about the Arch-Community-Songster.”
Only in Zuñi the savage was able to express himself. To add on, some people are only able to express themselves through foreign means.
2) Bottom of pg. 159, “Lenina suddenly felt all the sensations normally experienced at the beginning of a Violent Passion Surrogate treatment.”
* This quote brought up the question, What is a surrogate? –> A substitute.
We think of these emotions as being a natural response for us, but for Lenina it’s very odd. She is experiencing all of these stimulation’s for the very first time.
Group covering the topic on “Happiness”
Claim: From today’s world, general happiness comes from conflict not comfort.
1) Pg. 96 1st paragraph, “For Bernard left the room with a swagger, exulting, as he banged the door behind him, in the thought that he stood alone, embattled against the order of things; elated by the intoxicating consciousness of his individual significance and importance.”
From this quote, we can see that Bernard’s happiness was drawn out by the conflict that he was going to be sent away to a sub-center. This news brought out this feeling of happiness, which can be expressed through his feelings of excitement and feelings of importance as an individual.
2) Pg. 145 6th paragraph, “The days passed. Success went fizzily to Bernard’s head, and in the process completely reconciled him (as any good intoxicant should do) to a world which, up till then, he had found very unsatisfactory. ”
Bernard is seen as a sort of middle man to get to John. John was able to give Bernard more popularity, which made Bernard believe that there is nothing wrong in the world. In this case, Bernard is feeling a sort of infantile happiness.
3) Pg. 163 5th paragraph, “‘Well, I’d rather be unhappy then have the sort of false, lying happiness you were having there.'”
John is telling Bernard that he prefers the real Bernard that he met at Malpais.
* False Happiness- One of the worst forms of happiness. *
Adding on to the discussion on “Happiness” from others
* Question raised: Can there be happiness without conflict? Or is there a certain way to get happiness?
- It’s different for everyone else.
- Limit what you do, and happiness has to be earned.
- Referring to the Declaration of Independence, ” Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Actual happiness is never achieved.
- Happiness is a decision you make, which affects your thoughts, your state of mind, and taking drugs will only distract yourself.
- You can decide to steal happiness, which is a personal choice.
- Happiness is an escape from the poison of sadness or getting away from sadness.
- Happiness is a very complicated thing with many sub-categories.
Group Discussion on the Ending of Brave New World
– Claiming the right to be unhappy, john exemplifies this when he moves out of New London and to the outside world.
– On pg. 162, Mustapha Mond connects happiness to stability through several quotes.
- “It was the sort of idea that might easily decondition the more unsettled minds among the higher castes – make them lose their faith in happiness as the Sovereign good and take to believing, instead.”
- “‘If one didn’t have to think about happiness!'”
– There is a level of stability connected to happiness.
* Sovereign Good –> The highest good.
– On pg. 190 last paragraph, “The savage stood looking on, “O brave new world, O brave new world.” This quote can be seen as an example of the use of apostrophe.
– On pg 191, Linda had died for the freedom of the world.
* Question raised: What is John’s conception of freedom?
- Starting a riot, disposing of the soma by throwing them away, begged people to stop taking soma, and to just be free.
What is the Ending?
- John killed himself, by hanging. Textual evidence: “Slowly, very slowly, like two unhurried compass needles, the feet turned towards the right; north, northeast …” (231).
- John fell into what he was trying to get away from in the society, then ended up being a part of it in a rush.
- Before John killed himself, he tortured himself.
- John became obsessed with purifying himself.
- Lenina was there with Henry, John whips her and himself during the ordeal.
- Society comes to him, trying to create a spectacle, something that is being commodified, making the moment public for public consumption.
- John becomes the mediator.
- Bernard pretty much commodified John.
* Terminology Introduced During the Class Discussion * (Some might have been defined already)
- Hubris – Thinking too much of yourself, or having an ego.
- Surrogate – A substitute.
- Sovereign Good – The highest good.
- False Happiness – One of the worst forms of happiness.
- Spectacle – Grand show.
- Paradox – A statement that seems to sound true, but it’s actually not.
- Apostrophe – Using “O” before referring to something.
- Commodity – A good something or service that has exchange value.
- Consumption – Relative to consumers.
- Commodification – A commodity
* Reminder *
Class Discussion: ‘Brave New World’ – Make at least one comment by Sunday 9/25, then go back read all the comments, and extend the conversation by making at least two more comments by 9/27.
Brave New World, Chapters 16-18, Group Discussion handout. Make claims and provide concrete textual evidence with your group.
“August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains” Ray Bradbury, 1950
“There will Come Rains,” Nazim Tulyakhodzayev, 1987
“There will Come Soft Rains,” Sara Teasdale, 2003
Reading Response #8: There Will Come Soft Rains
* Remember it’s best to plan ahead.
* Feel free to add notes that I may have missed as a comment to this post. *