Linda 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.

One of the most tragic figures in the dystopian novel Brave New World is Linda, a Beta who was left at the Reservation by the Director of Hatcheries. She has a son, John, and her reentry into society has deadly results for her.

Left Behind

When we first meet Linda in Brave New World, she's a little off. Actually, crazy may be the better term. But to be fair, can you really blame her? We find out that she has been abandoned by the Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning (DHC) in the society of Malpais for twenty years.

Despite being born in London, and very much a member of World State society, she has been forced to adapt to a completely new way of life. While there, she's found out that nothing is the way that it is in the civilized world. Compared to the relatively sterile world of London, in which there are no families and people have sex with each other at will, mothers in Malpais still give birth to children, and it is normal for people to engage in monogamy.

Brave New World cover

Relationship with John

We see a lot of Linda's struggles through her relationship with the son she conceived with the DHC, John. John is Linda's son, but she abhors the labels of mother and son. That said, she initially treats John well, despite the fact that she values her lovers over John's comfort. She teaches him to read, starting with an old technical manual from her job back in London, and states that he has been a real source of comfort to her. This relationship deteriorates, however, as soon as Linda gets back to London. After confronting and being rejected by the DHC, she drops John in favor of her true love: soma.

Relationship with Society

At her core, Linda is an addict for the civilization of the World State. She craves sexual encounters, and was ostracized and reviled at the Reservation for her promiscuity. The one thing she missed most was her soma. Remember, soma is the recreational wonder drug that makes any mood better with no hangover. Linda had searched for an equivalent to soma while at the Reservation and had taken mescal, which had left her hungover. Back in London, however, she finds soma and has no issue consuming enough to kill herself.

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