Lenina in Brave New World

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.

In the dystopian novel 'Brave New World,' we are introduced to the character of Lenina, who is the main female protagonist. She embodies all the characteristics of an ideal member of World State society, but is that what she really wants?

The Perfect Female

One of the first characters we really get to know in Brave New World is Lenina. Frankly, she's a bit of a shock that helps us understand the society of the World State. After all, Lenina is the ideal female in this world, as we learn. She has no shortage of men lining up to sleep with her, and as a Beta, she is a relatively high caste member of society.

In fact, some pretty powerful people want to spend time with Lenina. She has a reputation in a society obsessed with sex as being one of the most seductive women around. However, we also learn that she is a pretty nice person. She takes up for Bernard and agrees to go to New Mexico with him, despite the fact that her friends mock him.

Brave New World cover
Brave New World cover

Relationship with John

It's while she is in New Mexico with Bernard that Lenina's problems start. No, it's not that she develops feelings for him (or at least, no feelings other than mild confusion). Instead, she meets John, the half-wild child of a long-ago abandoned Beta. For John, it's love at first sight when he sees Lenina. For Lenina, it's more like lust at first sight.

However, the two have immense trouble conveying those feelings for each other. Lenina can't understand why John doesn't want to sleep with her, and John can't find it in himself to express his love for Lenina. Meanwhile, all of this confusion is especially rough on Lenina. She starts taking more and more of the happiness drug soma, hoping to make the pain go away.

Eventually, the two make their move on each other, but instead of an awkward morning after, John attacks Lenina, forcing her to hide from him in the bedroom. Only an emergency phone call saves Lenina from the scene. She sees John just one more time in the novel. John, now living as a hermit, recognizes Lenina getting out of a helicopter after he has tried to distance himself from society. He flies into a rage, ultimately getting lost in the emotion that results in a soma-induced orgy.

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