Brave New World: Novel Summary: Chapter 5

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The first part of chapter five is dedicated to the everyday affairs of Lenina and Henry. They fly around in Henry’s helicopter for awhile, passing the crematorium. To them, it is not a sad place at all, but actually one of hope and joy. Henry asserts happily, "Fine to think we can go on being socially useful even after we’re dead. Making plants grow." Obviously the two have been conditioned to the point that their individuality means nothing compared to the collective. It isn’t even a remorseful time when someone dies. Lenina echoes his sentiments saying, "Yes, everybody’s happy now." Mentally drained with soma, it’s no wonder everything seems so mellow all of the time. Huxley describes the substance as "raising a quite impenetrable wall between the actual universe and their minds."

Part two of the chapter details the events of Bernard’s Solidarity Service, which he attends every two weeks. This service is similar to a church service yet much more cult-like in its nature. There are a lot of parallels to the pre-Ford era. The President (instead of the minister) gives not the sign of the cross, but the sign of the T. Soon a distorted kind of communion is had by all, while the twelve participants chant, "We long to die, for when we end, our larger life has begun." Obviously this is a collectivist type ceremony intended to mold the spirits of people together.

Throughout the service Bernard pretends to fit in, yet actually he continues to feel isolated from the rest of the group. He even yells, "He’s coming," to make it seem as though he’s really feeling the presence of Ford, yet he feels nothing inside. Soon the quasi-religious ceremony is brought to a climax when everyone begins to chant, "orgy porgy." Finally after the service is over, everyone feels refreshed and rejuvenated, feeling completely perfect in every way. Obviously this perfectness eliminates the need for Christianity in this new world. Still, however, Bernard feels left out. "He was as miserably isolated now as he had been when the service began— more isolated by reason of his unreplenished emptiness, his dead satiety."

 

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