Brave New World – How Does Society Treat Death In Chapter 14? Essay
The Brave New World treated death much as they did birth, this was in contradiction to the way the savage felt death should be Death in the Brave New World is not important, it is simply something that happens to your body when it has got worn out. In chapter 14 the nurse thought that the savage was “Undoing all their wholesome death-conditioning with this disgusting outcry as though death were something terrible, as though anyone mattered as much as all that!” Clearly she too had been death conditioned, to accept that death was certain, but she knew that she could be assured that her minerals would be recoverd after her death and used again. Societies views of death were extremely different, and even the hearses were “Gaily coloured” and the ward that Linda was on was called the “Galloping senility ward” suggesting that they had no fear of going senile. I think that the colour of the building and the size clearly represents what society thinks about death.”Primrose”,”60-Story” and the wards were “Bright with sunshine” these aren’t the coulors or size modern society would use, but because of their conditioning in The Brave New world they are taught
What the nurse says to the savage on page 163 also says something about the way that society treats death. She says “You are in a hurry!” after probably expecting him to be less anxious. She then goes on to say “You’re not feeling ill are you?” due to his abnormal (for a conditioned world) behavior and his concern for Linda which, as we can see was highly unexpected as few visitors ever came. The words “Number 3 might go off any minute now” tell us something because the people have lost their identity and because they are dying are now only refereed to as numbers, it is as if no one cares. But saying this the situation around the bed where Linda is dying, with the TV, and scent spraying into the air, tells us that people weren’t just left to die, but were given some comforts but they were forgotten.
Bodies were cremated not buried and there was no book of remembrance because this is the Brave New World and they are trying to forget the past, and only look on to the future Few visitors came to the dying there was no reason for them to come. There was no family and they had all they needed in terms of physical comfort. The death of the body was in a way similar to the birth. The air they breathed and the world around them was controlled. It was as if they were babies again; as the savage and nurse walked down the ward. “Their progress was followed by blank, incurious eyes of second infancy” In chapter 14 Linda was content as she died; her brain and heart were dying. She had soma in her blood which made her happy. She drifted in and out of sleep with her controlled world being there for her during her wakeful moments. Batches of children were sent into the dying wards to condition them. To make them accept death and the way people died in the Brave New World. T
he savage had not been conditioned. He treated death as something sad, and he was desperate to see his mother before she died, and was anxious to find out if she could be saved. He called his mother by her name “Linda” and held her hand and as she laid dying he remembered her life, how she had looked after him when he was young. He recalled how she told him of the other place. The savage found the intrusion of the children being conditioned offensive. “It seemed the ward was maggoty with them” When the children intruded. into his last moments with Linda, the difference between his approach to death and that of the Brave New World was very noticeable, the savage became angry describing the children’s presence as “disgraceful”. The nurse could not understand his behavior. “But what do you mean. They are being death conditioned” In the Brave new world the nurse controlled the death and her only purpose was to make sure that people without identity died happily. Linda had been conditioned at birth, had lived in the reservation and then entered the Brave New World.
This made her death interesting, because whilst she was dying under the control of the Brave New World her son, John the savage was desperately trying to make her come to terms with reality. The dying had music playing all the time from the Wirlitzer, and this, with the TV, scent, and Soma made the dying something of a dream. Linda was in such a state of euphoria that she recalled Pope in her dreams, and not John . It was not until she was on the point of taking her last breath that she recognized her son. We can see in Chapter 14 that she did for a moment come back to the real world, and recognized John, and perhaps realized she was dying.
“The look she gave him was charged with an unspeakable terrorr” John acted with anger at her death, this was quite unacceptable in the Brave New World. The nurse could not believe his reaction and thought he was “Undoing all there wholesome death-conditioning with this disgusting outcry as though death were something terrible, as though anyone mattered as much as all that!” Caring about death was “antisocial” the savage prayed to God, but in the Brave New World there was no God and no after life so the children didn’t understand what he was saying. People left the Brave New World as they had entered it, returning only the minerals after their crematorium, with everything they had done in their lives being of little significance to those that were left.