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Barron's Booknotes-Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
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CHAPTER THIRTEEN

In this chapter the conflict between John and Lenina reaches its peak.

Lenina, distraught over John's failure to make love to her, goes to his apartment determined to make love to him. At first he is delighted to see her and tells her she means so much to him that he wanted to do something to show he was worthy of her. He wants to marry her. She can't understand either the Shakespearean or the ordinary words he uses because the idea of a lifelong, exclusive relationship is completely foreign to her. If she did understand it, it would be either a horror or an obscene joke, like Linda's motherhood.


She does finally understand, however, that John loves her. Her reaction is immediate: she strips off her clothes and presses up against him, ready for the enthusiastic sex that is as close as this system comes to love. John becomes furious, calls her a whore, and tells her to get out of his sight; when she goes into the bathroom, he begins to recite Shakespearean lines that say that sex is vulgar.

What do you think about this scene? Huxley has made plain throughout the book that he doesn't like the promiscuity of the brave new world. But is he taking John's side here? At one moment he seems to, but at others he suggests that John's attitude is madness, and he certainly brings John close to violence.

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Barron's Booknotes-Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
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