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

CHAPTER 2

Summary

From the Decanting Room, where Foster stays behind, the students are led by the Director to the fifth floor; here they will visit the Infant Nurseries and the Neo-Pavlovion Conditioning Rooms, where the conditioning process is demonstrated for the students. In clear sight in the room, there are bowls of roses and books with pictures of beasts, birds, and other creatures. The babies are brought in and set before the objects. As soon as the infants begin to respond with delight over what they see, a series of explosions and shocks are generated to frighten them. Subsequently, the very sight of the roses and picture books causes feelings of aversion and terror in the children. The state believes that through such unalterable conditioning, the children will be safe "from books and botany all their lives." The Director justifies this procedure by saying that reading books and enjoying nature simply waste time and energy. He also explains the value of sleep-teaching, known as hypnop'dia, for it allows a person to be productive in his/her sleep. The Director boasts that hypnop'dia is "the greatest moralizing and socializing force of all time."


Another demonstration of the conditioning process is presented in the chapter. While they are asleep, Beta babies are fed "Elementary Class Consciousness;" they are told that they should hate Deltas, Epsilons, and Gammas and should refrain from any emulation of the superior Alphas. This conditioning takes place three times a week for thirty months. The Betas who succeed in the first conditioning are then given more advanced lessons.

Notes

The whole chapter dwells on how the State brainwashes its subjects right from birth; using conditioning exercises and sleep teaching, the infants are made to accept who they are, what their future jobs will be, and their station in life. The government rationalizes the brainwashing by saying that it is trying to ensure order and "happiness" in the new world. However, they teach the infants to be frightened by books and natural things, both of which are fearful to the totalitarian government of the new order.

Throughout the chapter, there are reminders that this is a futuristic novel. There are quaint references to the "dead languages" of contemporary times. Pavlov's theory of conditioning is used in new ways on humans to control what they become. Signs of a totalitarian state are present in the way everything is run and controlled; additionally, personal relationships are denounced. Ford, apparently the founder of Utopia, is considered to be the god of this future new world; one of the popular exclamations in the novel is, "Oh Ford," and everything in the novel is dated A.F., meaning After Ford.

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