Gosh, I don’t even know where to begin… I am in complete awe.
Upon reading chapter 14-18 in Brave New World, I did not expect the ending to unravel the way it did. I felt different emotions within each chapter, some ranging from confusion to disappointment to finally unsatisfied.
I initially thought that because Bernard was different from the rest of the citizens in the World State, he was the chosen one to break the caste system. I was hoping for Bernard to be the “independent” one and spread knowledge and freedom upon others. As I read the further chapters, I realized that Bernard was changing unconsciously and to be honest I do not blame him. I mean, how could he prevent himself? He is surrounded by people who believe in the caste system, are supplied with numerous amounts of soma and are conditioned in many aspects. How was Bernard to protect himself from it? He couldn’t. Bernard began to change and follow the caste system and soon his independence started fading away and he became one of “them.”
I also thought that Bernard was the main protagonist in the story but upon reading the remaining chapters, I believe John was the main character all along. Sure we were all introduced to Bernard first but the impact and predicaments that John was exposed to resembled that of an independent person. John did not believe in the caste system nor agreed with the idea of conditioning and to know how the World State’s rules and regulation affected him has made the transitioning to main character possible.
Because John belonged in another place rather than the World State, he was able to gain freedom through reading, exploring etc. With John’s character I was able to visualize and understand how the regulations in the World State can corrupt an individual. When his mother passed, I believed that it was the moment where John had completely lost himself. Of course a piece of him had deteriorated by simply losing his mother but what stood out to me is the reason why she passed on, soma. Everyone in the World State idolizes soma, it may be even an addiction to others but I believe that drug symbolizes the containment of one’s freedom.
In chapter 15 John states, “‘Don’t you even understand what manhood and freedom are?… I’ll teach you; I’ll make you be free whether you want to or not.” And pushing open a window that looked on to the inner court of the Hospital, he began to throw the little pill-boxes of soma tablets in handfuls out into the area” (Huxley 193). Soma is what keeps the civilization going. I may be wrong but I believe soma is what killed Linda, her addiction to this drug has not only separated her from reality but she couldn’t even remember her own son! Soma is what keeps everyone in order no matter what circumstances they are in and I feel the more and more the citizens in the World State consume this drug, they become addicted to it but there are even worse consequences than that; as they consume each bit of tablets of the drug, they are segregating themselves from their own freedom, their own independence and they all don’t even know it! Which is the reason why I was hoping for John to be the spokesperson, to make a change and stop this civilization. However, as the controller states about the citizens in the World State, “They practically can’t help behaving as they ought to behave. And if anything should go wrong, there’s soma” (Huxley 199). Soma will always keep things in “check” and controlled at all times. If John was free before and was consumed by soma or even the state’s rules and regulation, then where is the hope for it ever ending? – There isn’t any hope, at least not anymore.
Excellent post Jessica! I’ve chosen it as one of the featured posts for that week.