Aldous Huxley's

a brave new world









Discussion Questions

1. Discuss the characteristics of a dystopian novel that are prominently illustrated in Brave New World.

2. Discuss how Huxley uses actual historical names as character names in the novel. In what ways do the characters reflect their historical names?

3. How does Bernard Marx’s physical description match his personality?

4. Compare and contrast Bernard Marx with his friend, Helmoltz Watson. Who is the stronger character and why?

5. In what ways is John the Savage consistently the outsider?

6. What aspects of modern life can you infer that Huxley dislikes? What do you think his ideal society would look like?

7. Cite incidents in the novel to support this theme: He who controls and uses knowledge wields the power.

8. In the novel, how have science and technology made the world better? Worse?


Chapter 1

1. What are the tone and effect of Huxley’s description of the Fertilizing Room in the first two paragraphs of the book?

2. How does the Fertilizing Room’s description fit the purpose of the novel?

3. What is Bokanovsky’s Process?

4. What effect does the repetition of the phrase “straight from the horse’s mouth” have?

5. According to Henry Foster, what is the ultimate goal of decanting the lower castes?


Chapter 2

1. What reason does the Director give for conditioning the babies to hate flowers and books?

2. Briefly explain what hypnopaedia is.

3. In what ways is the World State’s use of hypnopaedia different from its original use?

4. What does this chapter reveal about Huxley’s feelings towards moral and scientific education?


Chapter 3

1. What is the attitude toward sexuality in the World State?

2. What word has replaced the use of God or Lord? What effect does this create?

3. What is Mustapha Mond’s attitude toward the past?

4. What is it about Bernard Marx’s actions and thoughts that set him apart from everyone else?

5. What do people suspect happened to Marx that makes him different, both physically and intellectually?

6. Why is Lenina’s relationship with Henry Foster frowned on by Fanny?

7. What effect is created by Huxley’s juxtaposition of several episodes at once?


Chapter 4

1. Why is Bernard embarrassed by his conversation with Lenina in the elevator?

2. How does Lenina judge the men she has been with?

3. How does Bernard’s physical appearance match his personality?

4. Why is Helmholtz Watson considered “different”?

5. What do Bernard and Helmholtz think sets them apart from others?

6. Why does Helmholtz feel his writing is inadequate?


Chapter 5

1. Why does Lenina feel that Epsilons should provide less phosphorous after their cremation?

2. For what reason does Huxley include the dance club scene?

3. Briefly describe the Solidarity Service.

4. What has the Solidarity Service replaced?

5. Why does Bernard consider his Solidarity Service experience a failure?


Chapter 6

1. Why does Henry Foster compare Bernard to a rhinoceros?

2. What reasons does Lenina give for thinking Bernard so odd?

3. Why is Lenina so disturbed by the sight of the ocean?

4. What does Lenina suggest Bernard do to cure his unhappiness?

5. Despite all of Bernard’s talk of being unhappy with the present conditions of society, what does Lenina ultimately think is Bernard’s reason for not wanting to go to bed with her?

6. Why does Bernard regret going to bed with Lenina?

7. Briefly describe the Director’s experience at the New Mexican Reservation.

8. What is inappropriate about the Director’s reflecting on his visit to the reservation?

9. What does the Director mean by Bernard’s lack of “infantile decorum”?

10. How does Bernard alter his report of his confrontation with the Director when telling it to Helmholtz?

11. What does Bernard warn Lenina will not be available during their stay at the reservation?

12. In what ways is the reservation different from the World State?

13. How does Bernard react to the news that he is going to be sent to Iceland?

14. What does the helicopter say to reassure Lenina and Bernard that they will be safe during their stay at the reservation?

15. How is suspense created in this chapter?


Chapter 7

1. What specifically does Lenina dislike about the Malpais’s home?

2. What does Bernard say that is particularly offensive to Lenina?

3. What is the one thing about Lenina’s visit that reminds her of home?

4. Briefly describe the ritual that Lenina and Bernard witness?

5. What does Lenina find most disturbing about the whipping scene?

6. What is Lenina’s reaction to Linda?

7. Why does Bernard become excited by John’s story of how he and his mother came to be at the reservation?

8. What are Linda’s feelings towards her son John?

9. In what ways are the World State and the reservation similar?

10. What are Huxley’s views towards life on the reservation?


Chapter 8

1. What is the effect of not introducing John until the middle of the novel?

2. What memories does John describe?

3. What do John’s memories tell us about his character?

4. What are the limits of what Linda can teach John?

5. Where does John get the idea to kill Popé?

6. What are Huxley’s feelings towards Shakespeare?

7. What does Bernard find most disturbing about the story of John’s self- crucifixion?

8. What might the last line of the chapter foreshadow?


Chapter 9

1. What is ironic about the phrase “safe as helicopters”?

2. What does John do when he discovers Bernard has gone?

3. What is the significance of quoting Romeo and Juliet in this scene?


Chapter 10

1. Why does the Director believe that the Fertilizing Room is the appropriate place to announce Bernard’s transfer to Iceland?

2. According to the Director, why is Bernard’s talent all the more reason to let him go?

3. What “reason” does Bernard give for proof of his innocence?

4. How does unorthodoxy threaten the World State?

5. What is the effect of the detail in the fi rst three paragraphs of this chapter?

6. What is most humiliating to the Director?


Chapter 11

1. Why were “the best people quite determined not to see Linda”?

2. What is Dr. Shaw’s argument for allowing Linda to take soma indefinitely?

3. In what ways does celebrity change Bernard?

4. Briefly explain how the upper castes are educated at Eton?

5. What are the differences in the lyrics Lenina chooses to recite versus the ones that John does?

6. How is the “feely” used as a means of conditioning?


Chapter 12

1. What is revealed about how Bernard is perceived after he tells them the news that John will not be appearing?

2. What is Mustapha Mond’s reasoning for not allowing the paper titled “A New Theory of Biology” to be published?

3. How is Mustapha Mond different?

4. How has Lenina’s character changed?

5. What does Helmholtz Watson find absurd about John’s reading of Romeo and Juliet?


Chapter 13

1. What advice does Fanny give to Lenina?

2. What reasoning does John give for not having approached Lenina?

3. How do Lenina and John’s differing value systems make their relationship impossible?


Chapter 14

1. What does it mean to say that the patients in the hospital are in their “second infancy”?

2. Why is John’s reaction to his mother’s death seen as unusual?

3. For what reason are the children brought into Linda’s room?


Chapter 15

1. Why does John compare the group of twins to maggots?

2. How has the phrase “brave new world” changed to John?

3. What does John fail to understand about the Deltas?

4. How is Bernard’s reaction to the mob scene consistent or inconsistent with his character?


Chapter 16

1. Why does the Controller, Mustapha Mond, address his comments primarily to John?

2. What is the Controller’s reasoning for banning great works?

3. What does the Controller say would be the result of making everyone an Alpha Double Plus?

4. Briefly explain the Cyprus experiment.

5. What does the Controller and John’s conversation reveal about the author’s feeling towards modern society?

6. What does Mustapha Mond mean by saying that “we can’t allow science to undo its own good work”?


Chapter 17

1. What are the Controller’s feelings about religion and God?

2. What argument does Mond give against self-denial?

3. How do John and the Controller represent the dichotomy of body and spirit?


Chapter 18

1. What does John mean when he says that he “ate civilization”?

2. What is John’s plan, knowing that he will not be allowed to leave with Bernard and Helmholtz Watson?

3. Why does John deliberately punish himself?

4. What have the crowds of people come to see?

5. What is the significance of John’s suicide?