Brave New World Comprehension Questions: Brave New World Study Questions

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Brave New World Study Questions

How well do you understand Brave New World? Answer these Brave New World comprehension questions and find out.

Question: What effect does John’s frequent quotation of Shakespeare have on the novel?

Answer: Shakespeare’s passionate, meaningful writings about human relationships and life’s struggle portray the exact things the World State attempts to eliminate.

Question: Explain the novel’s title.

Answer: John the Savage refers to civilization as a “brave new world,” initially with hope and enthusiasm and then with bitterness and irony. John is quoting from Shakespeare’s The Tempest. In The Tempest, Prospero and his daughter are exiled to an island inhabited by one other individual, Caliban. Prospero enslaves Caliban in hopes of “civilizing” him. This civilization includes Caliban being introduced to liquor, which he abuses. Caliban resents Prospero for stealing his home, which angers Prospero, causing him to treat Caliban even more harshly. Caliban is unable to fit in to Prospero’s civilization, much in the same way John the Savage cannot reconcile himself to the civilized world.

Brave New World Comprehension Questions

How well do you understand Brave New World? Answer these Brave New World comprehension questions and find out.

Question: In what ways have individuals become devalued in Brave New World’s society?

Answer: Individuals have become sexual commodities. Along with the loss of individuality comes the loss of self worth. Lenina, for example, considers herself a commodity to be shared with all. Everybody belongs to everyone is a hypnopaedic preconditioning phrase repeated frequently. Even in death, individuals are viewed as commodities, as a source of phosphorus. The dead are sent to the hospital to die in solitude. Bokanovsky twins swarm throughout the hospital mortality ward as a form of “death conditioning,” with no regard for the patients.

Question: How does the World State keep its citizens happy?

Answer: It begins with genetic tampering before citizens are even born. Certain substances are injected into embryos depending on the caste to which they belong. Genetic tampering then gives way to psychological conditioning through the repetition of targeted beliefs. That, however, is not enough to keep citizens constantly happy, so the government distributes soma for those times when pain and stress arrive.

Question: In what ways does the reader’s perception of John change as the novel progresses?

Answer: Bernard initially appears to be a rebel, but it is revealed he’s a rebel only because he cannot match other Alphas physically. Once he becomes popular and sought after by beautiful women, he no longer wishes to upset the social order. Bernard shows himself to be a selfish coward on many occasions: he shouts at the lower castes who do not respect him automatically on account of his size; he brings John and Linda back for the sole purpose of embarrassing the Director; he uses John for upward social mobility; he tries to escape when John and Hemholtz are in danger. He sobs uncontrollably after being banished.

This post is part of the series: Brave New World Study Guide

Instead of whipping yourself into a frenzy with John the Savage, read this study guide and become World Controller.

  1. Brave New World Chapter Summaries
  2. Characters from Brave New World
  3. Important Quotes from Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  4. Themes in Brave New World
  5. Brave New World Study Questions