Important Quotes Explained- Brave New World
- “Did you ever feel as though you had something inside you that was only waiting for you to give it a chance to come out? Some sort of extra power that you aren’t using,” (69).
Helmholtz feels as if there is some kind of happiness outside of the stability that the Brave New World presses upon its citizens. Helmholtz is in his beginning stages of rebelling. He is content with the way things are, but realizes he could be doing things that he wanted to do. The society is taught to do things to keep stability, but Helmholtz is starting to thrive freedom, but he just does not realize what freedom is yet. His feelings foreshadow his rebellion against the community later in the novel.
- “I’d rather be unhappy than have the sort of false, lying happiness you were having here,” (179).
John realizes he would rather have things be imperfect and make his own choices than be forced to do things under brainless laws and not ever acquire happiness. Because John did not grow up in the new world he immediately identifies the lies that the leaders of the community spread to the citizens. Also, it is easy for him to understand what exactly the leaders are keeping from the people, such as love, freedom, individualism, and real happiness.
- “I feel as though I were just beginning to have something to write about. As though I were beginning to be able to use that power I feel I’ve got inside of me-that extra latent power,” (182).
Here, Helmholtz is developing further as a character as he begins to discover what it is he is missing. As a writer, he feels as though he only has a limited supply of subjects he can write about, and knows there must be more ideas out there. The “extra latent power” he talks about is his ability to seize the truth. Helmholtz is a smart man, and he knows something is being kept from him. He wants to learn about more than the little that the leaders provide him with. Helmholtz is searching for the truth, and is so close to finding it.
- “That beautiful other place, whose memory, as of a heaven, a paradise of goodness and loveliness, he still kept whole and intact, undefiled by contact with the reality of this real London, these actual civilized men and women,” (201).
John remembers the Savage Reservation, and prefers the filth, the poverty, and sin of his old home to the “perfect” society. He mocks the people of the new world as civilized only because they truly are not civilized. Practically, they are robots, because they have been programmed through their sleep teaching to behave in a civilized manner. John refers to his old home as a paradise, not in the sense that it is tropical or beautiful, but because he is allowed to be free and act how he pleases. In the new world, everyone acts the same and no one is really happy.
- Because it’s old; that’s the chief reason. We haven’t any use for old things here,” (219).
Mustapha Mond explains that at the civilization, the leaders do not want their people to be attracted to new things even if they are beautiful. Older things such as works of art, literature, and forms of sciences are too much for people of the civilization to handle. If the people are able to read books and understand plays and the bible they will learn too much. If the people have too much knowledge they will only learn too quickly what they are being cheated out of, and overthrow the leaders. Giving the people the new things keeps everything stable, and they will never know the difference.
- “You can’t make tragedies without social instability. The world’s stable now. People are happy; they get what they want, and they never want what they can’t get,” (220).
Mustapha Mond continues to explain the “logical” reason behind social stability. If the people were to read older plays such as Othello, which contains social instability, the plot of the play might sway their actions. In other words, the leaders have kept any kind of literature, movies, records, or advertisements from the people that contain any form of instability. If the people never read or hear about anything other than stability, then they should never rebel because they do not know or understand anything else. The problem is their form of government is lying continuously. They do not allow the people to do anything except what is permitted. The leaders have cut back so many things, how is one supposed to obtain true happiness? And if one is happy, how does that individual know it really is happiness?
- “We don’t want to change. Every change is a menace to society. Every discovery in pure science is potentially subversive; even science must sometimes be treated as a possible enemy,” (225).
Change is a menace for the leaders because when one thing changes, people begin to like the idea. They prefer the society how it is because the leaders are in total control and the citizens are oblivious to anything other than what they have known their entire lives. Because science is discovering new things, it must be kept under control. If someone were to discover new things in which the leaders are keeping from them, things would get out of control, or unstable. The leaders have put rules on everything that can expose the truth, or make things unstable.
- “We are not our own any more than what we possess is our own. We did not make ourselves, we cannot be supreme over ourselves. We are not our own masters. We are God’s property. Is it not our happiness thus to view the matter? Is it any happiness or any comfort, to consider that we are our own?” (232).
This is an excerpt that comes from a book in Mustapha Mond’s office. It is the writings of an individual who did not agree with the Brave New World’s society and rules. Only he has this book because is talks of God, and one being happy in different ways. His is obviously not allowed for the citizens because they would be uncertain of their stability. This is an example of an individual who was not happy with the way things were, even though the stability was supposed to make everyone happy. This is yet another example of the proof that a perfect society is far less than perfect.
- “Isn’t there something in living dangerously?” (239).
John asks Mustapha Mond if the citizens are really experiencing all of life’s emotions. Obviously, the citizens to not encounter danger because danger would mean that things are not stable, and the society does not believe in things that are not stable. Mustapha Mond explains that they give the citizens drugs that stimulate the adrenal glands and are similar to danger, but John argues it is not true danger. The society is so corrupt that John would prefer danger to the “perfect society.”
- “I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin,” (240).
John explains what true happiness is. Happiness is not living without a family, growing up not fearing death, and taking a pill every time something is out of place. John explains that happiness is doing what one wants, experiencing things that are dangerous and exciting. Exploring new things and learning about the world have never been possible to those of the community, but John knows doing such exists, and he craves being and individual. Sometimes by trying to make things so “perfect,” ironically causes the opposite affect and causes life to be dull and depressing. Life is about doing what one wants, and being happy with the outcome. Making mistakes, and learning from them. Without mistakes, (in a perfect life) one would never learn anything.