Brave New World Chapter Summaries: 1-3
This Brave New World Summary will help clarify your reading. Brave New World chapter summaries, albeit useful, make a poor substitute for actually reading the novel.
Chapter 1: The novel opens in the year A.F. 632 in the social conditioning and hatchery center in London. The director and Henry Foster are conducting a tour. Babies are no longer born. They are hatched. The director explains the Bokanovskification process, which takes one embryo and splits it into multiple soon-to-be babies. The embryos are then treated based on its predetermined social caste--Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon.
Chapter 2: The Director continues his tour and brings the students to the nurseries. They observe a group of 8-month old Deltas crawling towards books and flowers. Once they reach the items, alarms sound, followed by electric shocks. The whole scene is meant to condition Deltas to hate books and nature. The lower castes are also conditioned to love transportation and elaborate sports in order to increase consumption. The Director then explains hypnopaedia, a process in which sleeping children are conditioned according to caste by the replay of messages as they sleep.
Chapter 3: The Director leads the students to a garden where hundreds of naked children engage in erotic play. Students are shocked that sexual behavior in children and adolescents used to be discouraged. His Fordship Mustapha Mond enters. The clocks strike four and the day shift ends. The remainder of the chapter involves constant scene switching among Mustapha Mond's lecture to the students, Lenina Crowne's conversation with her roommate, and Henry Foster's conversation with coworkers. Mond discusses industrialization, the world before the revolution, and the invention of soma, the perfect drug used by all citizens to escape from their troubles. Lenina's roommate advises her to be a good girl and be more promiscuous. Bernard Marx overhears Henry Foster's conversation in the men's room and is disgusted by it. Lenina tells her roommate, Fanny, that he's accepted Bernard's invitation to visit an Indian reservation.
Analysis: Brave New World, like Orwell's 1984, portrays a dystopia. In their efforts to create social and economic stability, world leaders and scientist use technology and psychology to eliminate individuality and discourage all activity that requires solitude or thought. Devices used to promote stability are sex, drugs, music, brainwashing, and class consciousness. Huxley's world combines the worst aspects of socialism--the loss of individuality--and capitalism--an unsatiated desire for consuming.