What Makes John A Savage English Literature Essay
Chapter VII (7) shows Bernard, and Lenina’s experience in the Reservation. This is the part where Huxley opens a part of his dystopian society, contrasting it implicitly and explicitly to London. However these chapters are touching in many ways as John, a product of the reservation, is much more appealing than Bernard has ever been. But because his appearance and background are very different, he is not accepted on the reservation. He has lived in isolation and misery. His intense sincerity, however, offers a refreshing contrast to the superficiality of the Utopians. In contrast, Linda, his mother, is a real mess, a mixture of both the new world and the old. Abandoned on the reservation by the Director, she has never fit in to this society of savages. Holding fast to the ways of the new world, she has casual relationships with men and refuses to follow other rules of the old order; as a result, she is used and ostracized by the people on the reservation. Torn as she is, she cannot even give John what he needs. Her emotions for him run from hot to cold. She cannot understand his savage ways and tries to give him her part of the new world, teaching him to read and explaining the "other" life. John longs to leave the reservation and experience the brave new world. In Bernard and Lenina, he sees his opportunity.
On the Savage Reservation, age changes people unchecked by chemicals and hormones; women give birth and breastfeed their babies; and the natural process of decay produces sights and smells that appall the sensitive Lenina. In fact, "Civilization is Sterilization" underscores most of Lenina's experience in the Reservation. Lenina forgets to take Soma before she enters the reservation provoking her to face the ‘Village of Malpais’ as an unmedicated reality.
Huxley wants his characters to see the Indian ritual without the veil of soma so that the madness of the ritual is not obscured. Linda's description of the Indian village as "madness" is actually quite accurate. The tribe worships a hybrid god, Pookong and Jesus. Following this already mad combination is the ritual dance, in which a man sacrifices his life by being whipped to death. The dance is unemotionally carried forth with the exception of Lenina's crying. Her crying is used by Huxley to point out the obvious, namely that it is possible to eradicate emotions and sentiment even without soma. Thus Huxley is making the point that although the cultures are entirely different, both of them require the suppression of emotion. This creates alienation in this chapter as many things go on at once, making it seem ‘mad’, and ‘horrific’ where a man sacrifices his life almost making it seem cultural but deadly.
John, not accepted by the Indian world, is prepared to leave so that the Utopian world can accept him. The reader can see how John is different from the Indian society in his emotional responses. Not only have his emotions separated John from the Indians, though. He also embodies certain aspects of the English society as a result of his mother's influence.
John Savage represents a parallel to Bernard in that he has struggled to join society, but been rejected by it. Huxley creates a choice of insanities, the insanity of the Utopia from which Bernard comes or the lunacy of the Indian village. This will remain a central conflict for John, who cannot fit into either society since he is a hybrid of both. However, by taking Bernard's invitation to go to Utopia, John is giving the other world a chance to accept him.
The reader is given John's history to elucidate the life of the Indians and to show how John differs from them. His individuality is affirmed by his ability to relate a history of his life which is substantially different from any other man's. John can be seen as a passionate human being who uses Shakespeare as his emotional guide. Implicitly, Huxley compares the memorable, poetic phrases of Shakespeare's poetry with hypnopaedia's catchy lines. John absorbs Shakespeare's poetry in a dream-like state, not entirely understanding the words but receiving the message through repetition, just as the young sleepers of the dystopia accept hypnopaedic wisdom.
It should be obvious at this point that John will be unable to fit into the Utopian society any better than the Indian life. The very fact that he is an emotional being is enough to forever alienate him from the society. This alienation by Huxley makes the readers feel uncomfortable, simply because John is a different person we see him being abandoned by other people. This is the reason why John is called ‘Savage’ simply because he was not living in the civilized world, but instead on the ‘Savage Reservation’. Another important point for why John has been given this galvanizing tag of ‘Savage’ is because he objects to the morals, and values taught and prefers to live like the old times. Many issues regarding John make him a ‘Savage’ as he is the only person whom has had birth naturally, as opposed to being born in a ‘Laboratory’. Another fact is that he shares a pivotal relationship with his mother, whereas the other people do not know who their parents are. He also reads Shakespeare as opposed to taking drugs, and ‘Soma’ which the other people take pleasure in using. His name however shows some irony as he rejects the idea of what the society tells him is ‘civilized’, but rather he is closest in mindset to believe what we think is ‘civilized’.
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