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Brave New World Chapter 3 Summary

Instructor: Kaitlin Oglesby
This lesson discusses chapter three of Aldous Huxley's dystopian novel, Brave New World. We'll learn from the perspective of three characters: Lenina, Bernard, and World Controller Mustapha Mond. Read the lesson, then test yourself with the quiz!

Children at the Schoolyard

Chapter three of Brave New World opens with the Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning (DHC) continuing to show his tour group of Alpha students around the Central London facility. At this point, they've reached a small courtyard where a group of children are playing. At first, it doesn't seem so different than a scene we'd find at a playground today. However, two of the core tenets of the World State's society are soon made apparent.

First is the fact that the children's games are very elaborate, requiring plenty of consumer goods. This prompts DHC to express that it's inconceivable that earlier generations played games with only nets, a couple of balls, and maybe a stick. Additionally, a little girl begins crying, saying that a little boy did not want to join in the sex-based play that youth are expected to partake in. Yes, you read that right. Remember, the society of Brave New World introduces sex at a young age, completely removing it from taboo.

Brave New World
Brave New World

A World Controller

This scene continues until a new presence appears on the courtyard, just shy of 4 p.m. Into the narrative appears Mustapha Mond, the World Controller for Western Europe. Simply put, he is the most powerful person around. In fact, he's the only one permitted to fully understand the history of the world before the World State was established. As the DHC stands by, Mustapha takes this opportunity to tell the group of Alpha students about the world before the establishment of this society, scaring them with talk of families, lost beliefs like Christianity, and a war that threatened the existence of humanity.

As an aside, Huxley uses this point of the novel to switch between two other dialogs, often very quickly, slowing the reader down to the point that he must pay attention to each sentiment carried by the speaker.

Bernard's Jealousy

Meanwhile, one of the most privileged members of World State society is feeling jealous. Despite being an Alpha Plus, Bernard Marx is simply not desirable to members of the opposite sex. Meanwhile, he is stuck in an elevator with the Assistant Director of Predestination as well as Henry Foster, one of the most desired men in London. The Assistant Director cannot get enough of Foster's personal life as the two men talk about past partners. One in particular whom Henry has been spending considerable amounts of time with is Lenina.

The problem is that poor Bernard wants Lenina, but he doesn't have the confidence to pursue her with the ease of Henry. It would be easy to say that Bernard is falling in love with Lenina--but remember, he's stuck in a society that does not provide him with an example and true understanding of love. All the while, Bernard is fuming that the other two talking about Lenina like she's a piece of meat, whereas he only recently gathered the gumption to ask her on a date.

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