Decanting in Brave New World: Meaning & Quotes

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

In ''Brave New World'' by Aldous Huxley, 'Community, Identity, Stability' is the motto for the World State. In this lesson, we will learn more about the decanting process, or what is considered birth in this society.

The Hatchery

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if every baby was made to order? In the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre, babies are mass produced and then conditioned to fit the needs of the World State. In this lesson, we will visit the Decanting Rooms from Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, where embryos are conditioned and unbottled in a way that will suit the society in their adulthood. Decanting literally means pouring out without causing a disruption, but in Brave New World, the term is used to describe pouring babies out of the bottles they were gestated in; it's the equivalent of birth. The whole process of growing babies in bottles and decanting them to be prepared for their place in the world helps uphold the goal of stability, from the society's motto, 'Community, Identity, Stability'.

Bottling Room to Decanting Room

So how are people made? After the ovaries are surgically removed from female volunteers and eggs are carefully selected for viability, fertilized, and cloned, it is time for them to make their way to the Bottling Room. An assembly line fills bottles with a sow's membrane to line them before Matriculators carefully transfer the fertilized egg from a test tube to the lined bottle where the embryo will stay until it is time to decant. Labellers transfer important information, such as, 'heredity, date of fertilization, membership of Bokanovsky Group…' onto the bottles. The Bokanovsky Process is the method used to clone the lower castes (Gamma, Delta, and Epsilon). Then the bottles make their way to the Social Predestination Room, and then onto the Embryo Store. The embryos are kept in a warm, humid environment under red lights and moved through a conveyor belt for 267 days, until they arrive at the Decanting Room to be poured out, into the daylight.

Predestination and Conditioning

At the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre, they do more than just create babies, 'We also predestine and condition. We decant our babies as socialized human beings, as Alphas or Epsilons, as future sewage workers or …'

This predistining and conditioning happens as the embryos move through that conveyor belt. Synthetic hormones, vitamins, and minerals are added to the bottles at regular intervals to keep the embryos viable and healthy. Movement is also essential to prepare the infant for the decanting process. After the sex of the child is determined, 70% of females are prescribed male hormone therapy to make freemartins, which are sterile females with secondary male characteristics.

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