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Free Study Guide-Brave New World by Aldous Huxley-Free Booknotes
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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES

CHAPTER 13

Summary

Lenina, obsessed with attracting John, is a classic picture of longing for the inaccessible. She grows absent-minded at work and refuses other dates. Fanny strongly advises her to go "take" John and get him out of her system. Following her friend's advice, Lenina surprises John alone at home. He tells her of his love for her and his chivalrous desire to exhibit proof of this love through some noble act. Lenina cannot understand what he means; neither does she understand his talk of marriage. To her, "love" means only one thing; therefore, she undresses herself and attempts to embrace John. Furious at this "whorish" behavior, he is almost demented in his disillusioned anger. In resisting her advance, he even physically hurts her. Lenina manages to escape into the bathroom, from where she recovers her clothes. Before Lenina can escape from John's apartment, there is a telephone call. He is told that his mother is seriously ill. John rushes out of the apartment with no thought of Lenina. She soon follows him out.

Notes

This chapter is really a seduction scene that goes awry. Following her friend Fanny's advice, Lenina goes to John's apartment with the sole purpose of "taking" him. Encouraged by his words of love that she does not really understand, Lenina undresses and tries to embrace John. The Savage is horrified to the point of irrationality. To him love means fidelity and marriage; in contrast, lust is vulgar and evil, as emphasized in Shakespeare. John speaks lines about chastity from his favorite author, while Lenina counters it with Utopian doggerel. Both are victims of their respective conditioning, and there seems no meeting-point between them even though they both care for the other.


Both of their reactions are surprising. Lenina reveals more emotion than expected and certainly more than is allowed in Utopia. John's reactions are uncharacteristically violent. Having witnessed Linda's promiscuity first hand, he seems overly shocked at Lenina's behavior. Perhaps, it is the memory of his mother's lust that whips up his anger.

John is literally rescued by a telephone call about the condition of his mother. When he hears that she is seriously ill, he rushes out of the apartment without one further thought of Lenina. The chapter, therefore, begins and ends with the demands of a woman. At first, it is Lenina demanding a sexual relationship with John; it ends with the demands of an ill and dying mother. Ironically, John responds negatively to the demands of Lenina and positively to the demands of Linda, proving that he rejects the values of the new world that he came to embrace and accepts the values of the old world from which he tried to flee. In fact, he is so repulsed by the new that he strikes out physically and violently against Lenina, a symbol of the brave new world.

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