Brave New World: Novel Summary: Chapter 11
Huxley’s eleventh chapter highlights both the aftermath of the scene in the Hatchery and the new life that Bernard, the Savage, and Linda will all live. First, Huxley speaks about the public’s growing fascination with the Savage, who they find physically attractive but also interesting in regards to his quaint ideas. Linda, on the other hand is not sought after, since her physical age-induced ugliness is extremely disgusting to the highly conditioned masses. Anyway, Linda is not after public attention. "The return to civilization was for her the return to soma...," writes the author. Linda lays in bed twenty-four hours a day, taking heavy doses of soma to escape her ugly reality. John is at first concerned that all the soma will shorten her life, but eventually he is forced to give in. Dr. Shaw tries to persuade him, saying, "Every soma-holiday is a bit of what our ancestors used to call eternity."
On a happier note, Bernard is now perfectly satisfied with his new life as friend of the popular savage. Huxley admits, "Bernard now found himself, for the first time in his life, treated not merely normally, but as a person of outstanding importance...Bernard felt positively gigantic." He goes on to say that Bernard could have his pick of the women and is respected by even his superiors. Unfortunately, however, this popularity forces him to cut ties with Helmholtz, at least temporarily, when Bernard thinks he’s envious of his new position.
Soon, as Bernard attempts to make the Savage civilized as part of his experiment, he realizes that John won’t take soma and is very distressed about the condition of Linda. Obviously the Savage hasn’t been conditioned like the others to disregard death as something unimportant; also, somehow he knows the effects of soma and doesn’t want to have them himself.
Later, when the Savage asks a librarian if she has Shakespeare, Dr. Gaffney responds, "Our library contains only books of reference. If our young people need distraction, they can get it at the feelies. We don’t encourage them to indulge in any solitary amusements."
The rest of the chapter is devoted to the interaction between Lenina and the Savage. After going to the feelies together (an experience the Savage considers dirty and immoral), Lenina hopes to get the Savage into bed with her. But he refuses according to his moral system from the Reservation, to her amazement and disappointment.