Reading Response: Brave New World, Chapters 7-12


Reading Questions for Brave New World, Chapters 7-12 (there are four questions total): (Chapter 7) How is life in the pueblo of Malpais (the “Savage Reservation”) different from “civilized” life in London? Whom do Bernard and Lenina meet there? (1 paragraph) (Chapter 8) In no more than three sentences, explain what John the Savage’s life was like growing up in the pueblo. (Chapters 9-12) In what ways is John the Savage different from the citizens of Brave New World? What does he think of “civilized” life? Support your answer with a specific reference to the novel (include a page number). (A few sentences to a paragraph will suffice.) (Chapter 12) On page 177, Mustapha Mond (the “Resident Controller for Western Europe”) reads an article that he deems “dangerous and potentially subversive.” Though he finds the article to be a “masterly piece of work,” he writes that the article should not be published. As he explains: “But once you began admitting explanations in terms of purpose—well, you didn’t know what the result might be. It was the sort of idea that might easily decondition the more unsettled minds among the higher castes—make them lose faith in happiness as the Sovereign Good and take to believing, instead, that the goal was somewhere beyond, somewhere outside the present human sphere; that the purpose of life was not the maintenance of well-being, but some intensification and refining of consciousness, some enlargement of knowledge.” Do you believe that the goal of human life should be “happiness,” “well-being,” constant comfort and ease as it is in the society of Brave New World? Would you want to live in a world where old age, disease, depression, longing, etc. were eradicated or synthetically suppressed with a “happy” drug like soma? Or, in your view, is the purpose of life deeper than that, involving some “intensification and refining of consciousness, some enlargement of knowledge,” as Mustapha Mond puts it? Briefly, what IS the purpose of human existence in your eyes? (P.S. I realize that these are “Very Deep Questions”! There’s no right or wrong answer here, obviously. If the “savage” world of Malpais (a place of “dirt, and gods, and old age, and disease”) is one extreme, and the world of “civilization” (a place of hot baths, feelies, soma, vibro-vacuum massages, decanted babies, and life-long youth) is another, where would your “utopian world” fall? (1-2 paragraphs)

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