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Barron's Booknotes-Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
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CHAPTER FOURTEEN

The book moves from sex and love in Chapter 13 to love and death in this chapter. John rushes to the Park Lane Hospital for the Dying, where his mother, Linda, has been taken. All the soma she has been using has put her into a state of "imbecile happiness." Those words seldom appear together; joining them creates a phrase of immense strength that tells us Huxleys' real attitude toward his Utopia. Seeing her makes John remember the Utopia she described to him when he was a child, the brave new world in his head that contrasts so painfully with the Utopia he now lives in.


A group of Delta children comes in for their weekly conditioning in seeing death as a natural process, and John is furious at their invasion of his grief. He is also furious when, in her delirium, his mother fails to recognize him and thinks he is Pope, her chief lover from the Reservation. Linda dies, and John collapses in tears. This threatens to destroy the conditioning the Deltas are receiving, and the nurse in charge has to give them chocolate eclairs to remind them that death is a natural and happy event.

NOTE:

Huxley wants to show how monstrous it is to deny the emotions of grief and loss. He hates a process that conditions people not to feel those emotions, that sorrow can be erased with gooey pastry. He doesn't mention any way of learning to experience mourning without being destroyed by it, though. Perhaps he is reflecting here his grief over the death of his own mother when he was only 14.

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Barron's Booknotes-Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
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