Page 53. " The humming of the screws overhead dropped an octave and a half, back through wasp and hornet to bumble-bee, to cockchafer, to stag-beetle. "
Stag Beetle
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeStag Beetle - Credit: B kimmel/Wikimedia Commons

Huxley is describing the sound of a helicopter decelerating. Huxley demonstrates his profound talent through this use of metaphor.


Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeBumble-Bee - Credit: Trounce/Wikimedia Commons
GNU Free Documentation LicenseCockchafer - Credit: Rasbak/Wikimedia Commons


Page 55. " Bernard gave his orders in the sharp, rather arrogant and even offensive tone of one who does not feel himself too secure in his superiority. "

Although Bernard Marx is an Alpha, his short height makes him feel as if he does not belong amongst the high caste. As a result, he is incredibly rude to his inferiors, as well as to other members of his own caste.

This is a controversial argument in today's society: does height really matter? Studies suggest that it does: in the end, height affects perceptions of leadership ability. Taller men are perceived as more commanding than shorter men. Studies have regularly shown that random people will pick the tallest person from a group as being the most commanding, even though in reality he might be inferior in rank. The honour guards in most militaries around the world regularly induct only the tallest men.

Because of the perceptions that have been built up by our society, shorter men can feel inadequate and insecure, even if they have superior abilities. Despite what every feel-good guide and common sense may tell us, height unfortunately does matter in our society.

Page 64. " 'And if you were an Epsilon,' said Henry, 'your conditioning would have made you no less thankful that you weren't a Beta or an Alpha.' "
Surgeons - a high caste job in Brave New World
Public DomainSurgeons - a high caste job in Brave New World - Credit: IJNMis01/Wikimedia Commons

Every person in the new world is conditioned to be useful to society, with each given a specific role. These are split into groups named after Greek letters: Epsilons, Gammas and Deltas do lower, less complex work, whereas Alphas and Betas are allocated higher, more complex jobs.

A factory worker - a low caste job in Brave New World
Public DomainA factory worker - a low caste job in Brave New World - Credit: US Federal Government

This reflects a functionalist theory of education called Role Allocation, put forward by Parsons and built on by Davis and Moore. Through testing intelligence, aptitude and ability, this system ensures that the most talented students will be allocated the more complex jobs (e.g. in medicine or law).

In Brave New World, Role Allocation takes place before the child is even decanted, and each child can be grown and conditioned from birth to meet the specific requirements of their job. Not only is each person suited perfectly to their role, they are also conditioned to be fully satisfied with their caste and position in life.


Page 65. " At twenty past nine they walked across the street to the newly opened Westminster Abbey Cabaret. "
Westminster Abbey
GNU Free Documentation LicenseWestminster Abbey - Credit: ChrisO/Wikimedia Commons

 Westminster Abbey is a large gothic church in London, opposite the Houses of Parliament.

It is the traditional place of coronation and burial for English and British monarchs. As such, it is a significant building in British history. By transforming it into a venue for cabaret, Huxley demonstrates the lack of respect that the new world has for both religion and history.

Page 67. " Alternate Thursdays were Bernard's Solidarity Service days. "
The Solidarity Service is similar to, but also a perversion of religious services
Public DomainThe Solidarity Service is similar to, but also a perversion of religious services - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A Solidarity Service has many parallels to a Christian mass. It is intended to bring members of the same caste closer together and closer to Ford (G0d). As in a Christian service, hymns are sung: Make Us One, Come Greater Being, and Rejoice In The Greater Being. 

In a religious service, sacred food may be consumed or sacred objects worshipped. Ritual words or prayers might be recited. Here, a cup of soma is passed around, and each person recites specific declarations before they drink (e.g. "I drink to my annihilation").

The service may resemble a mass, but its values are a mockery of traditional religious values. The Solidarity Service ends with an orgy ("orgy-porgy"), encouraging participants to give in to their desires.

Page 69. " The President stood up, made the sign of the T "

The 'T' symbol replaces the Christian sign of the cross. This is a reference to Henry Ford's Model T automobile, the vehicle that "put America on wheels".

The Model T stands for mass production and affordable prices. These are the ideas on which society in Brave New World is built. In the new world, the people are themselves mass produced and every good is affordable and readily available to everyone.

1916 Ford Model T
Public Domain1916 Ford Model T - Credit: Bull-Doser/Wikimedia Commons