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

CHAPTER 16

Summary

The three "rebels" are taken to meet the Controller. Not surprisingly, Bernard is perturbed; Helmholtz is amused; and the Savage is restless. When questioned by the Controller, the Savage admits his dislike of the brave new world except for a few aspects. He is, however, pleasantly surprised to learn that Mustapha Mond is familiar with Shakespeare. The two of them have a discussion about the master dramatist, with an occasional contribution by Helmholtz. Bernard is the silent quivering spectator until he learns that Iceland really was to be his fate. On hearing this news, he has to be carried away blubbering.

The meeting reveals that the Controller is very aware and intelligent. Like the Savage, he is sensitive about the monotony and limited nature of the new society; but he justifies it all in the name of social stability. In fact, he has a reasonable answer to every query from the Savage. He explains that a society of only Alpha pluses had been tried out, but failed. There was too much competition for the top positions and too little willingness to do the menial tasks. Mond has also learned that too much leisure for the lower classes is not advisable, for they are ill-equipped to handle it fruitfully. Having been a physicist of note, he also realizes the dangers of life being based purely on science; instead, science, like beauty, truth, and art, needs to be compromised and safely channeled in order to guarantee social stability.


The chapter ends on a surprising note. Helmholtz decides to go and live on an island where he feels he may be able to express his individuality and find like-minded spirits to himself.

Notes

This chapter is essentially an extended debate on various factors close to the Huxley's heart. The role of science in society is extensively discussed; but he is careful to distinguish between pure and applied science. Individual freedom versus social stability is also discussed at length with an emphasis on the fact that individuality often causes a person misery. What makes happiness is also considered, with the ideas of leisure and comfort given special attention. War, over-population, and inhumanity are also touched upon.

The Controller's arguments are persuasively and intelligently presented, but they do not represent all of Huxley's voice. John also serves as a representative of the author's thoughts. Unfortunately, the old and the new, represented by these characters, cannot seem to co-exist in peace. There seems to be no satisfactory solution to their differences. As a result, John is forced to see that he has no place in this new society. It is the moment of climax for him. Unlike Helmholtz who decides to escape to an island in order to find like-minded companionship and greater individual freedom, the Savage has no place to go.

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