Freemartins in Brave New World

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, the Society goes to great lengths to control population growth. In this lesson, we will learn more about freemartins.

What are Freemartins?

In the animal world, freemartins are female animals that have been born sterile, or unable to reproduce children, and frequently have some male characteristics. All freemartins in nature have a male twin. In Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, the hatchery, or place where babies are mass produced, purposely creates freemartins to expand the workforce while controlling breeding. In this lesson, we will learn more about freemartins.

Freemartin cattle have a male identical twin and have masculine traits.
cattle

Predestination

It all begins in the labeling room of the hatchery. The hatchery is the place where people are mass produced in test tubes. Each of the embryos is predestined based on the number of each sex that is needed in the society. An embryo is an organism that needs further development to be able to survive outside the womb. In the World State, the womb is simulated in a test tube. Each test tube is labeled with 'a T for the males, a circle for the females and for those who were destined to become freemartins a question mark, black on a white ground.' Thirty percent of the female embryos are left alone to make sure the Society has a good sampling of ovaries for future hatching, but 70% of the female embryos will be turned into freemartins. What is the benefit of turning the females into freemartins?

Sterilization

How does the hatchery sterilize embryos? The 70% of female embryos that are selected to become freemartins get 'a dose of male sex-hormone every twenty-four metres' until they are ready to be hatched. As a result, freemartins are born as sterile, though somewhat masculine, females. Unfortunately, however, '…they do have the slightest tendency to grow beards, but sterile. Guaranteed sterile.'

Sex without Consequences

Freemartins are at an advantage when it comes to casual sex as it is promoted in this society. With freedom that comes without worry of consequences, men and freemartins 'can indulge in any number of pleasant vices.'

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