Brave New World Chapter 5 Summary

Instructor: Kaitlin Oglesby
This lesson discusses Chapter 5 of Aldous Huxley's classic dystopian novel, Brave New World. We examine Lenina's inner thoughts and emotional conditioning, as well as Bernard's true nature. Read the lesson, then test yourself with the quiz!

Moments of Reflection

Chapter 5 of Brave New World opens with Henry Foster and Lenina Crowne en route to a dance hall for a performance by Calvin Stopes and His Sixteen Sexophonists. Along the way, however, a few important questions are raised by both. During their walk, a helicopter passes through a number of sites in the London area, and one of these, a London barracks for lower caste workers, causes Lenina to proclaim how miserable that it would be to be an Epsilon (lowest caste of people). Nevertheless, Henry reminds her that everyone is happy, and everyone is important. This causes Lenina to flash back to her own childhood conditioning, waking in some terror at the realization that she is being taught in her sleep before finally going back to bed.

Meanwhile, Henry is dealing with his own crisis. As he walks past the crematorium, he reflects that with each large puff from the smokestack, someone has finally disappeared. He points out that there's no way of knowing anything about the person except that they were happy. Finally, Henry and Lenina arrive at the dance hall.

Cover of Brave New World.
Brave New World cover

A Typical Date

Dancing the night away, the couple starts to feel the effects of their soma (a drug used to subdue and control the citizens) before quietly being ushered out of the venue, all of the prior concerns voiced by Henry and Lenina simply disappear. Instead, it is clear what the two have on their minds. As they make their way to Henry's room, it is clear that the soma is still in full effect. Despite being under the influence of this drug, Lenina still remembers to take her contraceptive. Such is the conditioning of the World State--even while inebriated, its members do not forget what has been drilled into their subconsciouses from an early age. In fact, the reader may start to think that it is when completely sober that even the most committed citizens could truly challenge the World State.

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