Page 154. " dangerous and potentially subversive. Not to be published. "
Brave New World - one of many banned books throughout history
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumBrave New World - one of many banned books throughout history - Credit: Victoria Hooper

Mond is rejecting a book that was written by an Alpha worker. The book is too profound and could potentially threaten the state. The writer will therefore be sent to an island, far from civilization.

The US Marxists Bowles and Gintis argued that schools help to maintain class structure and social inequality by discouraging independent thinking. They found that creative and independent students often prefer to do things their own way, not listening to the teacher at all. This threatens the teaching, moral lessons and carefully maintained status quo of the school, and of society in general. Schools wish to encourage pupils to conform to society rather than question it. For the same reasons, Mond needs to discourage independent thinking that questions the state. Find out more about Bowles and Gintis' theory here.

Throughout history, many different governments, societies and institutions have banned books, as Mond decides to do here. This form of censorship usually has political, religious or moral motivations. Many well-known or important books have been banned by various societies, including Alice in Wonderland, Animal Farm, The Canterbury Tales, The Da Vinci Code, The Diary of Anne Frank, Lady Chatterley's Lover, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Ulysses and many more. Brave New World itself has been banned at various times for its descriptions of sexual promiscuity!

A list of books that have been banned.



Page 155. " 'What fun it would be,' he thought, 'if one didn't have to think about happiness!' "

Happiness as the key principle in society is the basis of the moral theory of Utilitarianism.

In brief, utilitarianism is a consequentialist theory that is based on the idea of maximising pleasure and minimising pain for the greatest number of people. As a consequentialist theory, it asserts that the consequences of our actions define whether the action is morally right or wrong. For Utilitarianism, a moral action is one that benefits the majority.

The Utility Principle was defined by Jeremy Bentham, a moral philosopher, as 'the greatest happiness for the greatest number'.



The Utility (in short, 'happiness') test

Jeremy Bentham


Page 155. " O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright! "

A famous line from Romeo and Juliet, when Romeo first sees Juliet across a crowded room...


[To a Servingman] What lady is that, which doth enrich the hand

Of yonder knight?


I know not, sir.


O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!

It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night

Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope's ear;

Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear!

Act I, Scene 5

Page 159. " Let the bird of loudest lay, On the sole Arabian tree, Herald sad and trumpet be "

This is a line from Shakespeare’s poem The Phoenix and the Turtle. It is an allegory about the death of ideal love, or of the relationship between truth and beauty, though the poem has many different interpretations.

Page 160. " (for all the time he was seeing himself as Romeo and Lenina as Juliet) "
Romeo and Juliet, Ford Madox Brown, 1870
Public DomainRomeo and Juliet, Ford Madox Brown, 1870 - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

John uses Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet to compare his feelings for Lenina with Romeo's for Juliet. In some ways, their relationship does resemble that of Romeo and Juliet: the two fall in love at first sight; like Romeo, John feels unworthy of his love's beauty; John and Lenina are from different worlds, as Romeo and Juliet are from different families. In both, their love is doomed. The comparison to Romeo and Juliet foreshadows the end of the book. In Shakespeare's play, Romeo commits suicide, believing Juliet to be dead. In Brave New World...

Romeo and Juliet, Act Five - in which the couple die.


Page 171. " The wren goes to 't, and the small gilded fly does lecher in my sight "
Ludwig Devrient as King Lear, probably made for Jean-François Ducis' production in 1769
Public DomainLudwig Devrient as King Lear, probably made for Jean-François Ducis' production in 1769 - Credit: wikimedia commons

A line from King Lear, a tragedy by Shakespeare, widely regarded as one of his greatest works.


Ay, every inch a king:

When I do stare, see how the subject quakes.

I pardon that man's life. What was thy cause? Adultery?

Thou shalt not die: die for adultery! No:

The wren goes to 't, and the small gilded fly

Does lecher in my sight.

Let copulation thrive…

Act IV, Scene 6

Page 175. " Faces still fresh and unwithered (for senility galloped so hard that it had no time to age the cheeks - only the heart and brain) "
Anti-Aging Cream
Public DomainAnti-Aging Cream - Credit: Svetlana Miljkovic/Wikimedia Commons

In the new world, no-one grows old. In fact, old age is treated like a disease: "We keep their internal secretions artificially balanced at a youthful equilibrium. We don't permit their magnesium-calcium ratio to fall below what it was at thirty. We give them transfusions of young blood. We keep their metabolism permanently stimulated."

Today, old age is similarly seen as unattractive and the aging process is combated in various ways. People obsess over anti-aging and anti-wrinkle creams, fad diets and treatments, and some even choose surgery in order to try to hold on to their youth.

Extract from

“The AP (12/7, Irvine, Tanner) reported that as baby boomers age, "Botox (botulinum toxin type A), wrinkle fillers, and hormones of various kinds have become big business." Now, "many in mainstream medicine and elsewhere worry that we're becoming too focused on treatments with short-term benefits that have potentially dangerous side effects and scant, if any, evidence that they'll help in the long run."

A doctor performs a botox injection
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeA doctor performs a botox injection - Credit: Vancouver Laser & Skincare Centre at Flickr
A video explaining the processes and effects of 'wrinkle filling' treatments: