Soma in Brave New World: Examples & Analysis

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  • 0:04 What Is Soma?
  • 0:45 How Is Soma Used?
  • 1:17 Reactions to Soma: Examples
  • 1:49 Analysis
  • 2:14 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kaitlin Oglesby

Kaitlin has a BA in political science and experience teaching.

In 'Brave New World', soma is a hot commodity. It is compared to religion, it takes away bad experiences, and it even helps to cause a riot. Let's see how this drug influences different characters in the novel.

What Is Soma?

Even in the seemingly perfect society of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, people still have bad days. Maybe a lower-caste person fails to show the proper respect, or someone lusts after another, only to be rejected. In those cases where life deals someone a little bit of unhappiness, citizens of the World State know that they can always turn to soma, which is the recreational drug of choice in the novel.

From the sounds of it, soma is quite the wonder drug. It's described as being able to give people vacations that rival a holiday on the other side of the moon, and yet the user wakes up completely normal, without any sort of hangover or other side effect. It's a perfect symbol of escapism overtaking society in Brave New World.

Cover of Brave New World
Brave New World cover

How Is Soma Used?

More often than not, soma is consumed as tablets of a half gram each. We learn that soma does have an addictive effect the more you take it, with Lenina, one of the main characters of the book who resorts to taking soma often, at one point settling on 'just' one and a half grams of the stuff. However, soma can be used in other ways as well. A powder of soma is put on ice cream sundaes to make them even more pleasing, while soma clouds are used by the riot police at the climax of the book to put an end to the chaos caused when John and Helmholtz cause a fight.

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