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What Is the Symbolism of Soma in a “Brave New World”?

Soma, the drug used widely by characters in Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World,” symbolizes a replacement for religion in society. In this new world, soma allows people to escape from reality by thinking less critically. The novel, which was published in 1932, refers to the drug as having “all the advantages of Christianity and alcohol; none of their defects.”

Huxley took the name soma from an intoxicating drink Aryan invaders discovered 3,500 years ago in India. The fermented beverage, according to historians, was traditionally used as an offering to Hindu gods. It made the Aryans feel bold, strong and euphoric. The word is also Latin for “sleep.”

In “Brave New World,” soma serves as a potent hallucinogen that creates a strong sense of well-being and calm. In this way, soma suppresses feelings of discontent, fear and anger, thereby preventing people from discovering the causes of those feelings. The novel takes the sentiment behind the Karl Marx quotation, “religion is the opiate of the masses” to a literal level.

Toward the end of the novel, the character John the Savage rebels against society, focusing his anger on soma, which he sees as the primary means of oppression in the future state.


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Brave New World

Aldous huxley.

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Important Quotes Explained

Mother, monogamy, romance. High spurts the fountain; fierce and foamy the wild jet. The urge has but a single outlet. My love, my baby. No wonder those poor pre-moderns were mad and wicked and miserable. Their world didn’t allow them to take things easily, didn’t allow them to be sane, virtuous, happy. What with mothers and lovers, what with the prohibitions they were not conditioned to obey, what with the temptations and the lonely remorses, what with all the diseases and the endless isolating pain, what with the uncertainties and the poverty—they were forced to feel strongly. And feeling strongly (and strongly, what was more, in solitude, in hopelessly individual isolation), how could they be stable?

This passage comes from Chapter 3 , when Mustapha Mond is explaining the history of the World State to the group of boys touring the Hatchery. “Mother, monogamy, romance” can be seen as a concise summary of exactly the issues with which John will be most concerned. And “feeling strongly” is what John values most highly, and also what leads to his eventual self-flagellation, insanity, and suicide. Mustapha is saying that by doing away with these things, the World State has finally brought stability and peace to humanity. John’s critique of this position is that stability and peace are not worth throwing away everything that is worthwhile about life—“mother, monogamy, romance” included. Another facet of World State philosophy that is encapsulated in this quote is the idea of constructing a world in which human beings have only one way of behaving. The World State is an enormous system of production and consumption in which humans are turned into machines for further production and consumption. The world “allows” them to be happy by creating a system in which not being happy—by choosing truth over soma—is forbidden.

Brave New World SparkNotes Literature Guide

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Brave New World Quotes

Brave New World

All Quotes Quotes By Aldous Huxley

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Brave New World

Aldous huxley, everything you need for every book you read..

Ford Symbol Icon

While the World State doesn't have a conventional religion, it does have a symbolic and revered father figure: Henry T. Ford. Thus, Huxley’s use of “Ford” as a kind of deity throughout Brave New World (characters instinctively refer to “Our Ford,” “fordliness,” and other such variations on the name) argues that Ford’s 20th-century technological advances shaped a future in which mass production would be applied to human society. Ford is the perfect "god" for World State society because, in developing his Ford Motor Company, he invented mass production by means of the assembly line and the specialization of workers, each of whom has one single, specific job. The World State takes Ford's ideas about mass production and the assembly line and applies them to biologically to human beings. World State citizens, therefore, deify Ford as a vaguely remembered, distant historical figure who literally created the world as they know it.

Ford Quotes in Brave New World

Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon

“You all remember, I suppose, that beautiful and inspired saying of Our Ford's: History is bunk.”

Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon

“Ford, we are twelve; oh make us one, Like drops within the Social River; Oh, make us now together run As swiftly as thy shining Flivver. Come, Greater Being, Social Friend, Annihilating Twelve-in-One! We long to die, for when we end, Our larger life has but begun. Feel how the Greater Being comes! Rejoice and, in rejoicings, die! Melt in the music of the drums! For I am you and you are I. Orgy-porgy, Ford and fun, Kiss the girls and make them One. Boys at One with girls at peace; Orgy-porgy gives release.”

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Ford Symbol Timeline in Brave New World

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Brave New World

Lerne mit deinen Freunden und bleibe auf dem richtigen Kurs mit deinen persönlichen Lernstatistiken

Nie wieder prokastinieren mit unseren Lernerinnerungen.

Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1932) was published between the two World Wars. It was a time of heightened interest in and an increased reliance on technology 1 . Positioned as a dystopian view of the future, Brave New World highlights the potential downsides of a world with an uncritical acceptance of mass-adopted technology.

Brave New World : the book in context

The novel created a stir and generated much controversy when it was released, and was promptly banned due to themes of promiscuity, drug-taking, genetic engineering, and a generally negative outlook about the future. Brave New World is still on some censored lists. There were also accusations of plagiarism made against Huxley, as the novel thematically resembles My (1920) by Yevgeny Zamyatin.

Despite these bans and criticism, Brave New World is considered a pioneering novel in the D ystopian Science Fiction genre and is Aldous Huxley’s most-read work. The subjects that he raised for consideration in the 1930s still resonate today.

Some of these technologies were part of an imaginary future in the 1930s, but many are part of our present-day realities. Scientists are already genetically modifying plants, animals, and humans. Huxley’s work is worth reading as an introduction to themes of science and technology and their impact on society.

Dystopian Science Fiction is a genre in which pessimistic versions of potential future societies are depicted. These are often centred around a society and its relation to power, science, and technology. Another example is George Orwell's 1984 (1949).

Brave New World : summary

Set in London and New Mexico in AF 632, Brave New World is a cynical novel that depicts a future where efficiency, science, consumerism, and technolog y are all-encompassing. AF stands for After Ford, named after Henry Ford, the American inventor of both assembly-line mass production and the modern motor vehicle. He is widely revered, with the population saying ‘Thank Ford’ to show appreciation.

Brave New World, men working on an assembly line in the Ford factory, StudySmarter

Huxley introduces a future controlled by the 'World State’. It is a future where the population is engineered and conditioned from embryotic stages, throughout childhood, and into adulthood. A rigid professional and social class system is artificially created at the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre .

Each caste is named after a letter of the Greek alphabet. The pinnacle class of Alphas are created to lead. With a range of levels for professions in between, the lowest class, Elipsons, are created purely for manual labour.

Individuality is suppressed in the population by early psychological conditioning. Adults are kept positive with a calming, happiness-inducing drug called soma. Ultimately, universal happiness is a key objective of the World State, so any anti-social behaviour or signs of discontent are discouraged.

In addition, the population is encouraged to be what would generally be viewed as promiscuous. In Brave New World, ‘everybody belongs to everybody else’ 2 rather than developing long term relationships or even families.

Literature and the study of history are banned and replaced by entertainment like ‘Obstacle Golf or the 'Feelies', an interactive sensory film experience. The educational views of the leadership in Brave New World are summed up in a quote by Mustapha Mond:

History is bunk." - Chapter 3

Huxley turns mainstream 1930s societal taboos inside out to create a nightmarish potential future. Against this backdrop, the novel follows two protagonists: Bernhard Marx is a slightly different Alpha-plus; John is a ‘savage’ born naturally on a reservation outside of the Hatchery. The clash of their two worlds leads to the less-than-happy ending of Brave New World and creates a space to consider the benefits and drawbacks of each.

Do you think that there are pros and cons for the world that Bernhard lives in and the one John does? If so, what are they?

Brave New World : themes and message

Huxley explores a variety of themes that still resonate today. Ranging from genetic engineering to mass-produced pharmaceuticals and consumerism, many of the issues he deals with in the future of Brave New World are our current reality.

From Dolly the Sheep, who was cloned in 1996, to genetically modified food and DNA editing, some of the science of Huxley's future is in our present reality. What are your views on these types of scientific advances?

Science and technology

In Brave New World , Huxley depicts a future where science has replaced or controlled all natural human emotions, thoughts, and bodily functions. Starting prior to birth, science is used to engineer certain human outcomes.

In the Hatchery, natural birth is redundant. Instead, embryos are conditioned en mass by exposure to various degrees of chemicals, hormones, and alcohol to create a caste system of people with just the right amount of intelligence and physical stature for their future profession.

In addition, families no longer exist. Children are raised by the World State and conditioned to ensure that they become unquestioning, pliable, and happy future citizens.

For adults, artificial versions of natural human functions are created and made compulsory. Examples include the ‘Violent Passion Surrogate’ and the ‘Pregnancy Substitute’. As heightened emotion is generally discouraged but considered necessary for human health, the population is required to attend monthly 'Violent Passion Surrogate’ experiences to compensate. As women no longer give birth, they are required to undergo 'Pregnancy Substitutes' to maintain their optimal health and happiness.

Technology and science are closely entwined in Brave New World . From entertainment like the 'Feelies' to the Hatchery, science and technology form the basis of the human experience.

Do you think that modern technology and science are tools for human control or tools for human betterment? Are these two concepts mutually exclusive?


The World State in Brave New World suppresses individuality, as it is viewed as counterproductive to a happy and cohesive society. This engineering starts with the embryonic stage ' Bokanovsky’s Process' to ensure that all humans are biological clones of each other, and continues up to recited slogans such as 'everyone belongs to everyone else'. 'Solidarity Services are also used to reinforce the sense of community over the individual and people are sent off to the islands,

Should they have got too self-consciously individual to fit into community life." - Chapter 16

Huxley’s approach to community and the individual is more nuanced than an all-good or all-bad portrayal. John exerts his individuality by choice while Bernhard has no choice. His individuality is the result of faulty conditioning. Bernhard does not necessarily always choose individuality, as in when he tries to resist being sent to the islands. For him, it is ultimately more a burden of circumstance and not something he would necessarily sacrifice comfort for. John, on the other hand often chooses individuality despite the consequences.

Brave New World raises questions about the interplay between individuals, communities, and ruling powers, represented by the World State.

What is your opinion on the role of the individual within society or communities?

Brave New World : characters

Bernhard marx.

Bernhard Marx is one of the two main protagonists. He is a faulty Alpha-Plus psychologist, whose blood surrogate was contaminated with alcohol. This resulted in shortness, which sets him apart from other Alpha- Plus members of society.

His original quest for and belief in individuality doesn’t quite hold up when he becomes suddenly popular for his friendship with John. Despite some resistance, he ends up being sent to the islands.

John ‘the savage’ is the only person in the novel who has been born the natural way. He is the protagonist who features most frequently in the second half of the book.

Born on a New Mexico reserve to an Alpha Londoner mistakenly left behind by her lover, John does not belong in London or Malpais. He is an idealistic loner, absorbed in the world of Shakespeare and the most complex character in Brave New World . He lives out his ideals, often at great personal expense. John is a flawed hero due to his own form of conditioning that steers him towards self-loathing and violence.

An 'awfully pneumatic' woman. On the surface she is an ideal member of a society geared towards consumerism, pleasure, and comfort. Despite appearances, Lenina is potentially more capable of seeing beyond conditioning than Bernhard is.

She rebels by having an almost long-term and exclusive relationship with Henry Foster. After returning to a more acceptable, nonexclusive approach, she rebels again by choosing relationships with outsiders Bernhard and John 'the Savage'.

A more complex and conflicted character than she originally appears, Lenina can be said to come the closest to actually experiencing some level of adult love.

Brave New World : quotes

Science and technology are a central themes in Brave New World . Huxley’s questions and views can be better understood by looking at some quotes from the novel .

I shall begin at the beginning," said the D.H.C. and the more zealous students recorded his intention in their notebooks: Begin at the beginning. "These," he waved his hand, "are the incubators." And opening an insulated door he showed them racks upon racks of numbered test tubes. "The week's supply of ova. Kept," he explained, "at blood heat; whereas the male gametes," and here he opened another door, "they have to be kept at thirty-five instead of thirty-seven. Full blood heat sterilizes. - Chapter 1

This quote by the Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning highlights both the precision of science and the replacement of natural human experiences with artificial ones. Just two degrees separate the scientific creation of a male and a female human.

Slowly, majestically, with a faint humming of machinery, the Conveyors moved forward, thirty-three centimeters an hour . In the red darkness glinted innumerable rubies."

- Chapter 3

Here Huxley draws attention to technology and its uses in replacing human functions. This quote describes the conveyor belt assembly line that transports the embryos in the Hatchery.

What is individuality? This is another theme within Brave New World that raises questions around the individual within the context of society.

One egg, one embryo, one adult-normality. But a bokanovskified egg will bud, will proliferate, will divide. From eight to ninety-six buds, and every bud will grow into a perfectly formed embryo, and every embryo into a full-sized adult. Making ninety-six human beings grow where only one grew before. Progress. - Chapter 1

Huxley depicts The Bokanov process as the ultimate scientific erasure of individuality at a cellular level. Each human is a clone of the other. It also ties into the theme of technology and mass production exemplified by Henry Ford. Here humans are made more efficiently, at a rate of 96:1.

Brave New World - Key takeaways

1. Phillip Ball, In retrospect, Brave New World , Nature. (2013).

2. Aldous Huxley , Brave New World , Chatto&Windus, (1932).

Frequently Asked Questions about Brave New World

--> why did aldous huxley write brave new world .

Huxley wrote Brave New World (1932) partly due to his irritation after reading and disagreeing with H.G Wells'  Men Like Gods (1923). He also wanted to write a novel highlighting the potential pitfalls of mass technology.

--> What is Brave New World about?

Brave New World (1932) is a cynical work of Dystopian Science Fiction that portrays a future society that is controlled by science and technology.

--> What is the main message of Brave New World ?

Brave New World can be viewed as a novel that warns of the potential downsides of a future that is controlled by science, technology and consumerism.

--> Is Brave New World a dystopian novel?

Yes, Brave New World is a pioneering example of the Dystopian Science Fiction genre.

--> Did Aldous Huxley call Brave New World a utopian novel?

No, Aldous Huxley wrote Brave New World as a Dystopian Science Fiction novel.

Final Brave New World Quiz

What genre is Brave New World (1932)?

Show answer

Dystopian Science Fiction

Show question

What are some key themes in Brave New World (1932)?

Key themes include science, technology, class, individuality and society.

Who are the two main protagonists in Brave New World ?

John and Berhard Marx are the two main protagonists in Brave New World.

What year is  Brave New World (1932) set in?

Brave New World is set in AF 632.

In Brave New World (1932), who is the inspiration for the After Ford calendar and the saying 'Thank Ford"?

Henry Ford, created of the assembly line method of mass production is the inspiration of the After Ford calendar in Brave New World.

Which of these elements does Brave New World make use of?

Which famous dramatist plays inspired John in Brave New World (1932)?


What is soma in Brave New World (1932)?

Soma is a mass produced drug that is used to keep the population happy and entertained.

Where is John from  Brave New World (1932) born?

John is born on a reserve in New Mexico.

What other novels are categorised as Dystopian Science Fiction with Brave New World (1932)?

George Orwell's 1984.

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Brave New World

By aldous huxley, brave new world quotes and analysis.


These three words hang in a sign over the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre, which creates and conditions new human life. These words comprise the slogan for society. "Community" means that all persons must work together to maximize the greatest happiness for society as a whole, and it occurs through the artificially implanted ideas of "Identity" that each person has. Some are alphas, betas, gammas, etc., but each person is supposed to be happy with their own identity. Finally, "Stability" is the ultimate goal of society because only through stability can happiness be maintained and all unpleasant feelings and emotions be eradicated.

" all remember, I suppose, that beautiful and inspired saying of Our Ford's: History is bunk." Brave New World, 34.

This saying, quoted by Mustapha Mond, instructs his citizens to disregard the painful lessons of history and to ignore the past in order to focus on future progress. Society disregards history because if people understood what came before, they might not be willing to put their trust in science and progress. History is "bunk," as Mond says, because it revolves around human frailties and emotions such as love, anger, vengeance, and temptation. Such things are no longer part of the human experience and, according to Mond, have no place in a society built around maximizing happiness.

"A gramme is better than a damn." Brave New World, 54.

This phrase signifies the maximization of happiness and good feelings in Huxley's utilitarian society. The greatest good for the greatest number of people, according to Huxley, is to minimize any negative emotions or feelings. To do this, individuals receive a gramme of soma, a narcotic that puts them into a state of unfeeling unconsciousness. Anytime individuals feel unhappy, they remember this phrase.

"The more stitches the less riches..." Brave New World, 51.

Every person repeatedly hears this hypnopaedic phrase from an early age. The phrase is embedded so deeply into the consciousness of each person that they take its meaning to be truth. In this case, the phrase sparks consumer behavior, since the more a person repairs their consumer goods, the less they will buy, resulting in less money in the economic system of society. Creating consumption is one of the chief tasks of government because consumption keeps lower castes employed with no time on their hands for disruptive behavior.

"What man has joined, nature is powerless to put asunder." Brave New World, 21.

This phrase, spoken by the Director, plays on the common phrase during a marriage ceremony - "What God has joined, let no man put asunder." In the marriage ceremony, the phrase evokes God's foreknowledge of bringing two persons together in love. In this quote, the Director claims the supremacy of science and progress. Man, not a god or nature, has put together the human body and mind, essentially conquering nature.

"Everyone works for every one else. We can't do without any one. Even Epsilons..." Brave New World, 91.

This quote from Lenina demonstrates the high priority put on community and identity in the society. Social castes move from the Alphas, the most talented and beautiful people in society, to the Epsilons and Gammas, the world's menial laborers. However, each person’s conditioning causes him to feel as though they are all part of an idea economic and social system. Later in the novel, John Savage tries to point out that such a system really only benefits those who rule it, not those that are a part of it.

"So they're having children all the time - like dogs. It's too revolting...And yet John was a great comfort to me." Brave New World, 122.

Linda says this line when Bernard and Lenina visit her on the reservation. Linda, a former inhabitant of the civilized world, tries to explain the incomprehensible behavior of the savages, but this quote illustrates the power of the bonds of parenthood. Huxley often uses surprising emotions in particular characters to demonstrate that there are certain aspects of being human that government and society cannot suppress.

"Why was that old fellow [Shakespeare] such a marvelous propaganda technician? Because he had so many insane, excruciating things to get excited about. You've got to be hurt and upset; otherwise you can't think of the really good, penetrating X-rayish phrases..." Brave New World, 188.

In this passage, Helmholtz Watson responds after John Savage reads to him from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet . Watson realizes that Shakespeare represents a certain kind of mastery over language and emotion - the same kind of work that he himself does, but Shakespeare is infinitely better at such things because he deals with real human emotion, something that the inhabitants now regard as foreign.

"You've got to choose between happiness and what people used to call high art. We've sacrificed the high art." Brave New World, 226.

In this line, Mustapha Mond responds to John Savage's protests that Shakespeare's literature is better than anything that results from society’s emotional engineering. Mond's agrees that Savage has a point, but he claims that in this society, happiness is the greatest good, and great literature can only come from turmoil and unhappiness. In order to achieve the greatest amount of happiness possible, civilized society has sacrificed art.

"It isn't only art that's incompatible with happiness; it's also science. Science is dangerous; we have to keep it most carefully chained and muzzled." Brave New World, 231.

Mustapha Mond posits that science cannot be the only factor in progress. Throughout the novel, the inhabitants of civilized society learn to regard scientific progress as the greatest good, but science often illuminates facts that do not profit an individual's happiness. Progress often makes life more difficult for some and easier for others. Science can thus be a destabilizing force in society.

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Brave New World Questions and Answers

The Question and Answer section for Brave New World is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.

On page 29, what is the hypnopaedic proverb about "dating"?

My page numbers don't match yours but I recall it was something like "everyone belongs to everyone else."

what is a "soma holiday" ? why does lenina go on one?

A soma holiday is a drug induced form of relaxation.

Chapter 6, Brave New World

In Chapter Six, the Director's story expresses emotions of fear and love. Since society expressly forbids this, he realizes that he should not have told Bernard about his experience. Thus, the Director's anger towards Bernard arises from his fear...

Study Guide for Brave New World

Brave New World study guide contains a biography of Aldous Huxley, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.

Essays for Brave New World

Brave New World essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.

Lesson Plan for Brave New World

Wikipedia Entries for Brave New World

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'Brave New World' Quotes Explained

Aldous Huxley's classic dystopian novel, Brave New World , deals with issues of technological advancements, sexuality, and individuality in the context of a dehumanizing society. Huxley explores how his characters react to living in a dystopian future society, in which everyone’s place is strictly defined. 

Quotes About Love and Sex

"Mother, monogamy, romance. High spurts the fountain; fierce and foamy the wild jet. The urge has but a single outlet. My love, my baby. No wonder those poor pre-moderns were mad and wicked and miserable. Their world didn’t allow them to take things easily, didn’t allow them to be sane, virtuous, happy. What with mothers and lovers, what with the prohibitions they were not conditioned to obey, what with the temptations and the lonely remorses, what with all the diseases and the endless isolating pain, what with the uncertainties and the poverty—they were forced to feel strongly. And feeling strongly (and strongly, what was more, in solitude, in hopelessly individual isolation), how could they be stable?" (Chapter 3)

In Chapter 3, Mustapha Mond explains the history of the World State to a group of boys touring the Hatchery. “Mother, monogamy, and romance” are concepts that are reviled in the World State, as is the whole idea of “feeling strongly”; however, for John, these are core values, as he is devoted to his mother, and strives for monogamy and romance while still experiencing feelings unfiltered by soma . Eventually, abiding by those feelings causes him to try to purify himself with self-flagellation, which, in an unfortunate turn of events, leads to his madness and suicide. His demise does, indirectly, prove Mustapha Mond’s point, as, by eliminating “mother, monogamy, and romance” alongside “feeling strongly,” the World State succeeded in creating a stable society where everybody was superficially happy. Sure, human beings are indoctrinated to behave in one way only according to their caste, and the whole State is a system founded on production and consumption, fueled by the consumerist tendencies of its inhabitants; yet, they are happy. They just need to drink soma and choose merriment over truth.

"'Whore!' he shouted 'Whore! Impudent strumpet!'" (Chapter 13)

John yells these words at Lenina as she gets naked in front of him. Citing his beloved Shakespeare, he addresses her as a “disrespectful whore.” It’s a line coming from Othello, where the titular character is about to kill his wife Desdemona as he became convinced she had been cheating on him. Both instances of the use “impudent strumpet” are misdirected, though: Desdemona was faithful all along, while Lenina had been sleeping around because the society she was raised in conditioned her to do so. Othello and John see their love interest as both sleazy and beautiful, which disturbs John, since he is not able to compute feelings of repulsion and attraction at the same time. In fact, such contrasting feelings eventually lead him to madness and death.

Quotes About Politics

"When the individual feels, the community reels." (Various mentions)

This is a Society’s teaching of the World State, which goes hand in hand with “never put off till tomorrow the fun you can have today.” Lenina pronounces it to Bernard after they had spent a night together in his rooms, which he regretted, saying he wished it had ended differently, especially considering it was their first day together. She claims it’s pointless to put off having any fun, while he wants to “feel something strongly,” which is largely discouraged in the World State, as feelings can overthrow any form of stability. Yet, Bernard yearns for some reeling, too. This conversation makes Lenina feel rejected.

"Yes, and civilization is sterilization." (Chapter 7)

Civilization is sterilization is one of the main Society’s teachings in Brave New World , and different characters utter it throughout the novel. Sterilization can mean different things: one is sanitation and cleanliness, as opposed to the filth people in the Reservation live in. “I had an awful cut on my head when they first brought me here. You can't imagine what they used to put on it. Filth, just filth,” Linda recalls before uttering the statement. Similarly, Lenina equates sterilization with cleanliness, which she insists “is next to fordliness.” However, sterilization can also be interpreted with regards to making women unable to bear children. In the World State, 70% of the female population are made into freemartins, meaning sterile women. They achieve that by injecting the female embryos with a low dose of sex hormones. This makes them sterile and fairly normal, except for the slight tendency to grow a beard. 

"Our world is not the same as Othello's world. You can't make flivvers without steel—and 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." (Chapter 16)

With these words which Mustapha Mond speaks to John, in a philosophical-debate-like fashion, he details why Shakespeare is obsolete in the World State. Being a highly educated man, he admits to them being beautiful, but his words are old and, thus, unfit for a society that is primarily oriented to consumerism. What’s more, he belittles John for using Shakespeare as a paradigm of values and ethics, because Shakespeare’s world is very different from the World State. His was a world subjected to turmoil and instability, while the World State is essentially stable, which, in turn, is not a fertile ground for tragedies. 

Quotes About Happiness

"And if ever, by some unlucky chance, anything unpleasant should somehow happen, why, there’s always soma to give you a holiday from the facts. And there’s always soma to calm your anger, to reconcile you to your enemies, to make you patient and long-suffering. In the past you could only accomplish these things by making a great effort and after years of hard moral training. Now, you swallow two or three half-gramme tablets, and there you are. Anybody can be virtuous now. You can carry at least half your morality about in a bottle. Christianity without tears—that’s what soma is." (Chapter 17)

This quote is excerpted from a conversation between John and Mustapha, which takes place in Chapter 17. Mustapha is trying to convince John that soma is a cure-all remedy for any unpleasant emotion which can lead to inefficiency and conflict. Unlike the hard moral training of the past, soma can solve any ailment of the soul almost instantly.

Curiously, the parallel between moral training, which is usually a core aspect of religion, and soma, hints at the origin of the word soma itself. It used to be an entheogenic draught that was consumed during rituals in the Vedic religion. Several myths also see two opposing factions of deities fighting over the ownership of soma. However, while soma was originally consumed by gods and humans alike in order to attain “the light” and immortality, the soma, which in the World State comes in convenient tablets, is mainly used to deal with any “unpleasantness”: Lenina knocks herself out with it after being unable to endure the horrors she witnessed in the Reservation. Meanwhile, Linda, who in her isolation in the Reservation had been looking for a substitute for the soma in mescaline and peyotl, eventually is prescribed a lethal dose of soma once she gets back to the World State.

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Brave New World Society and Class

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"Reducing the number of revolutions per minute," Mr. Foster explained. "The surrogate goes round slower; therefore passes through the lung at longer intervals; therefore gives the embryo less oxygen. Nothing like oxygen-shortage for keeping an embryo below par." Again he rubbed his hands. […] "The lower the caste," said Mr. Foster, "the shorter the oxygen." The first organ affected was the brain. After that the skeleton. At seventy per cent of normal oxygen you got dwarfs. At less than seventy eyeless monsters." (1.70-4)

Mr. Foster's calculating enthusiasm (rubbing his hands in excitement) is concentrated here with the horror of the caste system—horrible not only for its restrictive, predetermining qualities, but also for the destructive, malevolent, harmful way in which its ends are achieved.

They hurried out of the room and returned in a minute or two, each pushing a kind of tall dumb-waiter laden, on all its four wire-netted shelves, with eight-month-old babies, all exactly alike (a Bokanovsky Group, it was evident) and all (since their caste was Delta) dressed in khaki. (2.8)

That castes are distinguished by their clothing further dehumanizes them. To any member of a higher caste, ALL Deltas will look exactly the same.

"… all wear green," said a soft but very distinct voice, beginning in the middle of a sentence, "and Delta Children wear khaki. Oh no, I don't want to play with Delta children. And Epsilons are still worse. They're too stupid to be able to read or write. Besides they wear black, which is such a beastly colour. I'm so glad I'm a Beta." […] "Alpha children wear grey They work much harder than we do, because they're so frightfully clever. I'm really awfully glad I'm a Beta, because I don't work so hard. And then we are much better than the Gammas and Deltas. Gammas are stupid. They all wear green, and Delta children wear khaki. Oh no, I don't want to play with Delta children. And Epsilons are still worse. They're too stupid to be able…" (2.75-7)

It's likely that the castes are kept separate for the sake of stability; this way there is no envy and no complications from intermingling. Each individual can view members of a different caste as a faceless, nameless "other."

"Why not? Bernard's an Alpha Plus. Besides, he asked me to go to one of the Savage Reservations with him. I've always wanted to see a Savage Reservation." "But his reputation?" "What do I care about his reputation?" (3.123-5)

Clearly the social interactions of the upper castes are a little more nuanced than a simple matter of predetermined caste status.

The liftman was a small simian creature, dressed in the black tunic of an Epsilon-Minus Semi-Moron. (4.1.12)

Notice how this Epsilon is compared to an animal (simian = ape-like); as the novel progresses, all the citizens of the World State—regardless of caste—are rendered similarly bestial. It takes more than intelligence, Brave New World seems to argue, to make a human a human.

Bernard's physique was hardly better than that of the average Gamma. He stood eight centimetres short of the standard Alpha height and was slender in proportion. Contact with members of the lower castes always reminded him painfully of this physical inadequacy. "I am I, and wish I wasn't"; his self-consciousness was acute and stressing. Each time he found himself looking on the level, instead of downward, into a Delta's face, he felt humiliated. Would the creature treat him with the respect due to his caste? The question haunted him. Not without reason. For Gammas, Deltas and Epsilons had been to some extent conditioned to associate corporeal mass with social superiority. Indeed, a faint hypnopædic prejudice in favour of size was universal. (4.2.3)

Bernard has been so indoctrinated by the rules of the caste system that he cannot get over his physical inadequacies. Of course, his height means absolutely nothing intrinsically—it is intelligence that functionally distinguishes an Alpha.

Lenina, meanwhile, had turned her eyes away and was looking perpendicularly downwards at the monorail station. "Fine," she agreed. "But queer that Alphas and Betas won't make any more plants grow than those nasty little Gammas and Deltas and Epsilons down there." "All men are physio-chemically equal," said Henry sententiously. "Besides, even Epsilons perform indispensable services." (5.1.6-7)

In a world where the individual is defined only by his contribution to society, caste has replaced all other defining characteristics.

And I was so ashamed. Just think of it: me, a Beta—having a baby: put yourself in my place." (The mere suggestion made Lenina shudder. (7.56)

Linda finds her experience that much more degrading because of her caste.

It was John, then, they were all after. And as it was only through Bernard, his accredited guardian, that John could be seen, Bernard now found himself, for the first time in his life, treated not merely normally, but as a person of outstanding importance. There was no more talk of the alcohol in his blood-surrogate, no gibes at his personal appearance. Henry Foster went out of his way to be friendly; Benito Hoover made him a present of six packets of sex-hormone chewing-gum; the Assistant Predestinator came out and cadged almost abjectly for an invitation to one of Bernard's evening parties. As for the women, Bernard had only to hint at the possibility of an invitation, and he could have whichever of them he liked. (11.14)

Notice that nothing about Bernard has changed—he is still an Alpha, he is still intelligent, he is still short, he is still physically deficient. But value, at least among Alphas and Betas, goes beyond caste divisions and factors in reputation. Bernard can't act as an Alpha until he's convinced everyone thinks of him that way.

In the end Bernard had to slink back, diminished, to his rooms and inform the impatient assembly that the Savage would not be appearing that evening. The news was received with indignation. The men were furious at having been tricked into behaving politely to this insignificant fellow with the unsavoury reputation and the heretical opinions. The higher their position in the hierarchy, the deeper their resentment. "To play such a joke on me," the Arch-Songster kept repeating, "on me!" (12.16-7)

Certain positions in the World State command more respect than others, but respect is nonetheless tied to functionally. The Arch-Songster is only "special" because he performs a special function for the World State.

The menial staff of the Park Lane Hospital for the Dying consisted of one hundred and sixty-two Deltas divided into two Bokanovsky Groups of eighty-four red headed female and seventy-eight dark dolychocephalic male twins, respectively. At six, when their working day was over, the two Groups assembled in the vestibule of the Hospital and were served by the Deputy Sub-Bursar with their soma ration. (15.1)

How does the soma use of the lower castes compare to that of the upper castes?

"I was wondering," said the Savage, "why you had them at all—seeing that you can get whatever you want out of those bottles. Why don't you make everybody an Alpha Double Plus while you're about it?" Mustapha Mond laughed. "Because we have no wish to have our throats cut," he answered. "We believe in happiness and stability. A society of Alphas couldn't fail to be unstable and miserable. Imagine a factory staffed by Alphas—that is to say by separate and unrelated individuals of good heredity and conditioned so as to be capable (within limits) of making a free choice and assuming responsibilities. Imagine it!" he repeated. (16.40-1)

The World Controllers have rendered the lower castes little more than machines. This is why Alphas could never do Epsilon work—it's not considered human.

"It's an absurdity. An Alpha-decanted, Alpha-conditioned man would go mad if he had to do Epsilon Semi-Moron work—go mad, or start smashing things up. Alphas can be completely socialized—but only on condition that you make them do Alpha work. Only an Epsilon can be expected to make Epsilon sacrifices, for the good reason that for him they aren't sacrifices; they're the line of least resistance. His conditioning has laid down rails along which he's got to run. He can't help himself; he's foredoomed." (16.43)

This sounds like the worst kind of imprisonment—Epsilons aren't even allowed (intellectually) to comprehend the fact that they are imprisoned.

"The optimum population," said Mustapha Mond, "is modelled on the iceberg—eight-ninths below the water line, one-ninth above." (16.47)

Mond claims that those under the water line are actually happier than those above it (or at least better off than those whose intelligence leads them to question the system). Is this true?

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The 50 Best Brave New World Quotes Cover

Brave New World is a dystopian science-fiction novel set in a futuristic London society in the year 2540 AD. The book was published in 1931 by Aldous Huxley. A literary classic and foundational work of dystopian literature, it still sparks discussions about technology, politics, and consumer culture almost 100 years after it was published. If you’re looking for the best quotes from Brave New World , this organized list is exactly the right place!

Huxley imagined a world in which technological progress would not lead to mass surveillance, mind control, and oppression, like it does in George Orwell’s 1984 . Instead, he painted a future in which “everyone is happy now,” mostly thanks to drugs and frequent, non-committal sex. People are produced in factories, grouped into social classes, and conditioned to love their existence — and spend as much money as they can. At first, everything seems to run smoothly. When Native American John (“the Savage”), who grew up far from the hedonic shackles of civilization, enters the picture, however, the first cracks in this society begin to show…

In this list, we’ve compiled the most popular Brave New World quotes for you, based on the number of votes on Goodreads. We’ve also included Nik’s personal highlights from reading the book cover to cover. Finally, you’ll find some cool, custom-made images, ready for you to share your favorite quotes from the book on social media.

Want a summary of the book so you can better understand the quotes and their context? Download our free PDF, print it, and read along. Or save it for later and read it whenever you want!

You can easily navigate this list by jumping to any section that interests you using the table of contents below. If you want to share a quote, just highlight it, and sharing options for all major social media platforms will appear. Alternatively, you can also use the premade images we created for you in the last section of this list.

Are you ready to enter our Brave New World ? Here we go!

Table of Contents

The 10 Most Popular Quotes From Brave New World

My 40 favorite brave new world quotes, more brave new world quotes, brave new world quotes for sharing on social media, other quote lists.

If you’re wondering what the most popular Brave New World quotes are, here are the ten lines from the book with the highest number of votes on Goodreads , ranging from over 5,000 votes for the top quote all the way to around 500 votes for number 10.

Note that some of the top quotes on Goodreads were actually not from the book but from Huxley on other occasions, and some were from Brave New World Revisited , a follow-on retrospective Huxley published 26 years later. I skipped those in favor of only including quotes from the original book. I also took all quote versions from the 2007 Vintage edition for extra consistency.

1. “Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly — they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.”

2. “But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.”  

3. “Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with the overcompensations for misery. And, of course, stability isn’t nearly so spectacular as instability. And being contented has none of the glamour of a good fight against misfortune, none of the picturesqueness of a struggle with temptation, or a fatal overthrow by passion or doubt. Happiness is never grand.”

4. “If one’s different, one’s bound to be lonely.”

5. “I want to know what passion is. I want to feel something strongly.”

6. “One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them.”

7. “I am I, and I wish I wasn’t.”

8. “I’d rather be myself,” he said. “Myself and nasty. Not somebody else, however jolly.”

9. “‘All right then,’ said the Savage defiantly, ‘I’m claiming the right to be unhappy.’ ‘Not to mention the right to grow old and ugly and impotent; the right to have syphilis and cancer; the right to have too little to eat; the right to be lousy; the right to live in constant apprehension of what may happen tomorrow; the right to catch typhoid; the right to be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind.’ There was a long silence. ‘I claim them all,’ said the Savage at last.”

10. “No social stability without individual stability.”

When I first read  Brave New World in its entirety recently, I made over 70 highlights in the book. I won’t include the ones that are already in the top 10 above, but here are 40 of the lines I found most noteworthy, in order of when they appear in the book:

11 . “Books and loud noises, flowers and electric shocks—already in the infant mind these couples were compromisingly linked; and after two hundred repetitions of the same or a similar lesson would be wedded indissolubly. What man has joined, nature is powerless to put asunder.” 

12. “Primroses and landscapes, he pointed out, have one grave defect: they are gratuitous. A love of nature keeps no factories busy.”

13. “Impulse arrested spills over, and the flood is feeling, the flood is passion, the flood is even madness: it depends on the force of the current, the height and strength of the barrier. The unchecked stream flows smoothly down its appointed channels into a calm well-being.”

14. “‘Everyone belongs to everyone else, after all.’ One hundred repetitions three nights a week for four years, thought Bernard Marx, who was a specialist on hypnopædia. Sixty-two thousand four hundred repetitions make one truth. Idiots!”

15. “Ending is better than mending.”

16. “You can’t consume much if you sit still and read books.”

17. “‘What you need is a gramme of soma.’ ‘All the advantages of Christianity and alcohol; none of their defects. Take a holiday from reality whenever you like, and come back without so much as a headache or a mythology.’”

18. “The mockery made him feel an outsider; and feeling an outsider he behaved like one.”

19. “‘Did you ever feel,’ he asked, ‘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—you know, like all the water that goes down the falls instead of through the turbines?’”

20 . “When people are suspicious with you, you start being suspicious with them.”

21. “‘Everybody’s happy now.’ ‘Yes, everybody’s happy now,’ echoed Lenina. They had heard the words repeated a hundred and fifty times every night for twelve years.”

22. “Bernard considered that Electro-magnetic Golf was a waste of time. ‘Then what’s time for?’ asked Lenina in some astonishment.”

23. “‘Talking? But what about?’ Walking and talking—that seemed a very odd way of spending an afternoon.”

24. “‘When the individual feels, the community reels,’ Lenina pronounced. ‘Well, why shouldn’t it reel a bit?’”

25. “Often in the past he had wondered what it would be like to be subjected to some great trial, some pain, some persecution; he had even longed for affliction. […] Now that it looked as though the threats were really to be fulfilled, Bernard was appalled. Of that imagined stoicism, that theoretical courage, not a trace was left.”

26. “‘Rags, rags!’ the boys used to shout at him. ‘But I can read,’ he said to himself, ‘and they can’t. They don’t even know what reading is.’ It was fairly easy, if he thought hard enough about the reading, to pretend that he didn’t mind when they made fun of him.”

27. “A man can smile and smile and be a villain.”

28. “Somehow it was as though he had never really hated Popé before; never really hated him because he had never been able to say how much he hated him. But now he had these words, these words like drums and singing and magic.”

29. “Looking at the two pots, he had to laugh. ‘But the next one will be better,’ he said, and began to moisten another piece of clay. To fashion, to give form, to feel his fingers gaining in skill and power—this gave him an extraordinary pleasure. […] They worked all day, and all day he was filled with an intense, absorbing happiness. ”

30. “‘It is finished,’ said old Mitsima in a loud voice. ‘They are married.’ […] It is finished. Old Mitsima’s words repeated themselves in his mind. Finished, finished… In silence and from a long way off, but violently, desperately, hopelessly, he had loved Kiakimé. And now it was finished.”

31. “He held out his right hand in the moonlight. From the cut on his wrist the blood was still oozing. Every few seconds a drop fell, dark, almost colourless in the dead light. Drop, drop, drop. Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow… He had discovered Time and Death and God.”

32. “The greater a man’s talents, the greater his power to lead astray.”

33. “Murder kills only the individual—and, after all, what is an individual?”

34. “Unorthodoxy threatens more than the life of a mere individual; it strikes at Society itself.”

35. “Success went fizzily to Bernard’s head, and in the process completely reconciled him to a world which, up till then, he had found very unsatisfactory.”

36. “Once you began admitting explanations in terms of purpose—well, you didn’t know what the result might be. It was the sort of idea that might easily recondition the more unsettled minds among the higher castes—make them lose their faith in happiness as the Sovereign Good and take to believing, instead, that the goal was somewhere beyond, somewhere outside the present human sphere; that the purpose of life was not the maintenance of well-being, but some intensification and refining of consciousness, some enlargement of knowledge. Which was, the Controller reflected, quite possibly true. But not, in the present circumstance, admissible.”

37. “‘What fun it would be,’ he thought, ‘if one didn’t have to think about happiness!’”

38. “One of the principal functions of a friend is to suffer (in a milder and symbolic form) the punishments that we should like, but are unable, to inflict upon our enemies. ”

39. “You’ve got to be hurt and upset; otherwise you can’t think of the really good, penetrating, X-rayish phrases.”

40. “The world’s stable now. People are happy; they get what they want, and they never want what they can’t get.”

41. “His conditioning has laid down rails along which he’s got to run.”

42. “Every change is a menace to stability.”

43. “Happiness is a hard master—particularly other people’s happiness. A much harder master, if one isn’t conditioned to accept it unquestioningly, than truth.”

44. “People were ready to have even their appetites controlled then. Anything for a quiet life. We’ve gone on controlling ever since. It hasn’t been very good for truth, of course. But it’s been very good for happiness.”

45. “‘But God doesn’t change.’ ‘Men do, though.’ ‘What difference does that make?’ ‘All the difference in the world.’ ”

46. “You can’t have a lasting civilization without plenty of pleasant vices.”

47. “Civilization has absolutely no need of nobility or heroism. These things are symptoms of political inefficiency. In a properly organized society like ours, nobody has any opportunities for being noble or heroic.”

48. “You got rid of them. Yes, that’s just like you. Getting rid of everything unpleasant instead of learning to put up with it. Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them… But you don’t do either. Neither suffer nor oppose. You just abolish the slings and arrows. It’s too easy.”

49. “‘What you need,’ the Savage went on, ‘is something with tears for a change. Nothing costs enough here.’ ”

50. “In spite of their sadness—because of it, even; for their sadness was the symptom of their love for one another—the three young men were happy. ”

Want more fascinating quotes from Brave New World ? Well, at this point, the best way for you to find those is most likely to read the book. Here’s a quick overview and link to Amazon (affiliate). You can also ready our summary of the book by clicking the green button.

Favorite Quote

“Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly—they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.” — Aldous Huxley

The Book in One Sentence

Brave New World * presents a futuristic society engineered perfectly around capitalism and scientific efficiency, in which everyone is happy, conform, and content — but only at first glance.

Why should you read it?

This book explores the negative sides of a seeming utopia. What happens in an ostensibly prosperous world in which everyone appears to be content and satisfied but that, below the surface, has a lot of problems? If that somewhat reminds you of our outwardly shiny world in which everyone seems to be Instagram-happy, read this book.

Key Takeaways

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

If you want to post any of the above quotes to social media, you can do so with our “highlight and share” feature. That said, we also made some custom images for you to easily tap and spread. Some are optimized for Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, others follow Instagram’s classic square format or Pinterest’s more vertical layout.

For some of the images, we used images from Unsplash . For others, we created some custom AI art. In any case, we tried to make each quote fit the dystopian vibe of the book. Happy sharing! 

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Brave New World Quotes #1

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Quotes from Brave New World #11

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The Best Lines From Brave New World #23

That’s it for our list of the 50 best and most popular quotes from Brave New World . What do you think? Did we nail it? Did we forget an important one? Feel free to share your favorite with us on Twitter!

Looking for more quotes from interesting people and lines from great books? Here are all quote lists we’ve hand-selected for you so far:

Last Updated on February 14, 2023

*Four Minute Books participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising commissions by linking to Amazon. We also participate in other affiliate programs, such as Blinkist, MindValley, Audible, Audiobooks, Reading.FM, and others. Our referral links allow us to earn commissions (at no extra cost to you) and keep the site running. Thank you for your support.


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