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Barron's Booknotes-Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
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ANSWERS

TEST 2

1. A
2. B
3. C
4. C
5. C
6. A
7. C
8. B
9. C
10. C

11. Bernard feels different because of his small size' and that sense of difference enables him to see what is wrong in the brave new world and to imagine alternatives. But he lacks courage and secretly wants to succeed on the society's own terms. You should have no trouble finding examples of either criticisms or failures in his first appearance, his trip to the Reservation, his relations with John and Helmholtz, his involvement with Lenina, or his distress at being exiled. You can write a better answer if you compare him to Helmholtz, who is different in another way.

12. Lenina is an exemplary citizen except for one peculiarity that makes her more of an individual than most citizens: she will sometimes date or sleep with only one man at a time for as long as four months, violating the commandment to be promiscuous. As a female, she is particularly "pneumatic"- usually taken to mean that she has attractive breasts, but perhaps also meaning that she is especially exciting during intercourse. As a woman, her main function is to excite feelings in Bernard and John that show their respective differences from brave new worldlings. A feminist might say it is ironic that although she has little personality of her own, she takes the sexual initiative with John, something that many people think only a strong woman can do. Huxley implies that this is not uncommon in the brave new world, though it seldom happened in real life in his own day.

13. John is different in many ways, starting with his birth: he was born from a woman, not decanted from a bottle. He grew up an outsider among the Savages instead of a member of a defined group. He grew up without conditioning, but with a knowledge of Shakespeare and of the Savages' religion. He grew up loving and hating his mother. He knows the value of suffering and pain.


Many Utopias contrast civilized and "savage" behavior. John has the full range of emotions that citizens of the new world lack, and this enables him and you to see how hollow some of the virtues of the Utopia are. If you look at several feelings in particular, you will find that each one provides a new perspective on a different aspect of Utopia. John's feelings about his mother's death, for instance, give you a dramatic insight into the new world's conditioning about death.

14. Look up the dictionary definitions of "prophecy" and "prediction"; then look at what Huxley says in his Foreword. The novel is an inaccurate prediction of specific facts; it never mentions atomic energy, for instance. But 15 years after he wrote it, Huxley thought it was a good warning of the dangers of certain developments in biology and psychology, a good prophecy of changes in sexual morality.

15. They all offer escape from the routine of everyday life, and their use is encouraged by the state to keep citizens happy. Individuals play or watch sports more compulsively than we do because they've been conditioned to like them, but they don't get as much pleasure from sports as they do from sex, and not quite as complete an escape in sex as they do in soma. Sex still requires two people, while soma is a solitary experience in a world that offers few of these. The state seems to regard all three as necessary but to give soma the highest priority, with sex second and sports third. Look for quotations about each experience. At one point, Lenina sings, "Love's as good as soma." Do you think this is literally true from the worldlings' point of view?

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