Page 135. " Benito Hoover made him a present of six packets of sex-hormone chewing-gum "

Chewing Gum
GNU Free Documentation LicenseChewing Gum - Credit: Lusheeta/Wikimedia Commons
Sex-hormone chewing gum is used in this novel as an artificial means of gaining sexual satisfaction. It is normally consumed by men. When Brave New World was written, chewing gum was a symbol of what Huxley saw as the attractive yet vapid American culture that was beginning to spread its influence around the world.

Click here for a brief history of chewing gum.

Page 137. " ‘Still,’ he said, ‘Ariel could put a girdle round the earth in forty minutes.’ "
A 1639 depiction of the traditional Puck
Public DomainA 1639 depiction of the traditional Puck - Credit: wikimedia commons

Ariel is a spirit from Shakespeare’s The Tempest, who is bound to serve the magician Prospero.

However, it is actually Puck, the mischievous elf from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, who makes this particular boast: I’ll put a girdle round about the earth in forty minutes (Act II, Scene 1).


Page 143. " Asked me if I'd take the Savage to the feelies this evening. I must fly. "
Poster for Warner Bros.' Don Juan (1926), the first major motion picture to premiere with a full-length synchronized soundtrack
Public DomainPoster for Warner Bros.' Don Juan (1926), the first major motion picture to premiere with a full-length synchronized soundtrack - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The feelies are films that allow the audience to experience the same physical sensations as the characters. The plots of feelies are always simple, and often involve sex.

The name 'feelies' is a reference to the nicknames 'movies' (moving pictures) and 'talkies' (films with sound). The first commercial screenings of talkies took place in the 1920s, and by the 1930s they had become a global phenomenon. For Huxley, the next technological advancement seemed clear: first movies, then talkies, then – in Brave New World – feelies. Recent innovations have seen more and more films appearing in 3D; perhaps feelies will indeed be the future.

Page 148. " 'It was base,' he said indignantly, 'it was ignoble.' "

Many people argue that films are steadily becoming more violent, sexually explicit and immoral. Psycho, a Hitchcock film released in 1960, contains very little overt sexual or explicit violent content – the latter is mainly implied with sounds and effects. House of Wax, a 2005 horror film, contains a much higher level of violence, gore and sexual content. In A Clockwork Orange, Kubrick's 1971 adaptation of Anthony Burgess's dystopian novel, boundaries were pushed with a violent sexual assault shown in detail. Many modern films and TV series are extremely violent and sexually explicit. Some believe that constant exposure to such explicit scenes causes people to become desensitised and accepting of this behaviour.

Follow this link for a discussion about sex in horror films. Readers should be aware that there are some explicit images.

Click here for an article about violence towards women in the media, from Radio Times writer Alison Graham.


Page 150. " But the Arch-Community-Songster of Canterbury is there tonight. "
The current Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeThe current Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams - Credit: Brian/Wikimedia Commons

A dystopian version of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the religious leader of the Church of England and symbolic head of the Anglican Communion. The Arch-Community-Songster leads the Community songs (about Ford). Huxley felt that the morality of Anglicanism was no more than good manners and great singing, so he created this character as a parody of the Archbishop.

Canterbury Cathedral
GNU Free Documentation LicenseCanterbury Cathedral - Credit: Hans Musil/Wikimedia Commons