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KEY LITERARY ELEMENTS
London is the primary setting for the novel. Although many of the familiar landmarks are seen in London, there are also new ones suited to the new world, such as the Slough Crematorium and the College of Emotional Engineering. There is also a temporary shift in the setting to New Mexico, where there is a Reservation of Savages. The time is in the future, where scientific advancement is evident in every walk of life; in fact, science has become a "god," dictating human behavior, especially that of the upper class. The atmosphere is one of feverish excitement and fabricated happiness; the suppression that is rampant is so subtle that it is not even suspected.
In the aftermath of World War I, the general mood was to wipe out the bitter past and seek out a utopian society. When Huxley wrote the novel in 1932, he took much of his contemporary society and presented it in extreme form, creating a world ruled by totalitarianism, deification of science, and emotional engineering. The inspiration for the content of the novel came from the leaders of the day, including Karl Marx, Henry Ford, and Sigmund Freud.
LIST OF CHARACTERS
John the Savage
The protagonist of the novel who represents the author's viewpoint. He was born and brought up on a Reservation. Though fathered by the Director, he has a beta-minus for a mother.
The resident controller for Western Europe and one of the Ten World Controllers. Fully conversant with the traditions and values of the old world, he is the major spokesperson for the new one.
A worker who is attached to the Psychology Bureau. From the beginning he is singled out for his looks as well as his behavior. Prompted by ulterior motives, he is instrumental in transporting the Savage and Linda to the new world.
A nurse in the Hatchery. She is uncommonly pretty. She dates both Foster and Marx and is later violently attracted to Mr. Savage. Note: It is mistakenly and commonly assumed that she has lupus, from her physical appearance while working in the Hatchery bathed in red light. This gives the workers the appearance of having lupus, but this is not the case.
A strikingly handsome Alpha-plus. By profession, he is a lecturer at the College of Emotional Engineering; he is also a practicing Emotional Engineer and a writer.
A beta-minus, the mother of John, and the ex-girlfriend of the Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning. She gets lost on a visit to a reservation with the D.H.C. and is stranded there until Marx restores her to the New World.
The Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning
The father of the Savage whose pet name is Tomakin. He is a rather pompous and rigid adherent of the system, who must leave his post in ignominy.
A fair-haired, ruddy young alpha-plus. He is happy to be leading a fully conditioned life and is ever ready with statistical data.
A young friend of Lenina. She plays the role of confidante and, occasionally, advisor.
A man who provokes and ridicules Marx.
A man who is known for being "notoriously good- natured." His sunny temperament is reflected in his chubby red face and total lack of malice.
The Warden of the Reservation
An alpha-minus that is full of useless information and is determined to share it with everyone he meets.
The head Mistress of Eton. She is briefly impressed by Marx because of his association with the Savage.
Community Songster of Canterbury - the New World's counterpart of the Archbishop of Canterbury. A man of importance in the community, he plays a leading role in the religion of the state.