Brave New World Chapter 7 Summary

Instructor: Kaitlin Oglesby

Kaitlin has a BA in political science and extensive experience working in the business world as Director of Marketing and Business Development at a financial advice firm.

This lesson discusses Chapter 7 of Aldous Huxley's dystopian novel, Brave New World. Bernard and Lenina are at the Reservation and meet Linda and John, who have a connection to the World State. Read on to learn more.

Culture Shock

Chapter 7 of Brave New World opens with a guide walking Bernard Marx and Lenina Crowne through the wilds of the Reservation. Lenina is upset that she has to walk, but that inconvenience soon changes to complete shock. It seems that the duo have stumbled upon the settlement of Malpais while a fertility ceremony is going on.

A young man is forced to walk through a pit of snakes, then is hit with a bull whip until he collapses. He is forbidden from screaming out in pain, and it's clear that Lenina is very uncomfortable. After all, there are old people, diseased people, and mothers!

Worst of all for her, she has left her soma, a recreational drug that has no drawbacks to frequent use, back at the hotel, meaning that she is forced to take in every bit of this ceremony. The boy who is being beaten starts to bleed badly, collapses and is carried away. And then the two hear a familiar language spoken from inside a nearby building.

Brave New World cover
Brave New World cover


Out emerges John, a boy who very much wanted to take part in the ceremony as the one being beaten, but isn't permitted to do so. It turns out that John is himself not accepted in Malpais because his mother is from the World State! Perhaps alluding to Shakespeare's Macbeth, John refers to the bloodstains as the ''damned spot.''

He goes on to explain that his mother was lost from an earlier visit, and this all begs for Bernard's attention. After all, the DHC, Bernard's boss and the Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning, had just told him about coming to the Reservation and losing his date! Bernard starts to piece together that the Tomakin from John's story could very well be the DHC, whose first name is Thomas. Meanwhile, all Lenina can think is that despite being dressed oddly, John has a beautiful body.


About this time out comes Linda, John's mother and the DHC's long lost date. While the others may have been old, Linda is, well, plump. That is particularly horrifying to Lenina. Linda, however, soon gains Lenina's sympathy by making it clear that the two actually have much in common--both are Betas, both are from London, and they know many of the same places in London.

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