Short Response: 1-4 complete sentences
Extended Response 1-4 complete paragraphs
Essay: 5 or more paragraphs (also called a ‘paper’ and can be informative, research-based, persuasive, etc.)
Vocabulary: pallid, callow, abject, geniality, florid, zealous, salinity, viscosity, bouillon, prodigious, viviparous, vivacious, interminable, deft, optimum, predestination, sultry, caste, decant.
- Explain how Huxley uses imagery to establish setting and mood. Cite specific examples that you find particularly effective
in your response.
- The World State’s motto suggests that community, identity, and stability are the most important qualities in their society.
What do you believe are the three most important values for a society? Explain your answer.
- Explain the fertilization process used in Brave New World. How does the Hatching and Conditioning Centre acquire the
necessary ovum and spermatozoa?
- What is Bokanovsky’s Process? Which classes undergo Bokanovsky’s Process? Which do not?
- Why would Bokanovsky’s Process help create social stability?
- Based on context clues, what do you think the term “unforeseen wastages” is a euphemism for (10)?
- What do you think a “freemartin” is (13)?
- According to Mr. Foster, at what point does the Centre leave the realm of imitating nature and begin to apply human
invention to reproduction?
- What is the purpose of depriving some embryos of adequate oxygen? Why do the scientists hope to discover a way to speed up maturation?
- According to the Director, what is the secret of happiness and virtue? Do you agree with him? Explain your answer.
- Explain some of the processes that the Centre uses to prepare embryos for their “inescapable social destiny” (16-17).
Vocabulary: viscose, posthumous, apoplectic, suffuse, indissolubly, gratuitous, smut, sibilant, imperative, indefatigably, inculcate,
- Research the experiments of Ivan Pavlov and explain Pavlov’s theory.
- Explain the conditioning exercise that the Delta infants at the Centre experience. What is the purpose of the “lesson”?
How does it reflect the Pavlov’s theory? Explain the economic rationale for conditioning lower-caste children to hate flowers.
- What is suggested by Huxley’s decision to replace the words “mother” and “father” with “crash and crash” and “wink and
- How was hypnopædia discovered? What were its limitations?
- Based on context clues, what historical figure is referred to as “Our Ford”?
Guided Reading Questions
A TEACHER’S GUIDE TO ALDOUS HUXLEY’S BRAVE NEW WORLD 5
- What is moral education? Why was it possible to adapt hypnopædia for moral education?
- Explain the methods used by the class, Elementary Class Consciousness, to condition children.
- What does Huxley mean when he compares hypnopædia to drops of sealing wax falling on granite (28)?
- How do you think the Director would have finished the sentence “It therefore follows…”(29)?
- Explain how Huxley develops the motif of Henry Ford as a God figure. Use specific examples from the text to support
Vocabulary: centrifugal, rudimentary, patronizing, contempt, maudlin, rigorously, suppressed, incredulity, surreptitious, averted,
unsavory, bunk, derision, contemptuous, teeming, rabble, evocation, squalid, chypre, inscrutable, sadism, chastity, incongruous,
emphatically, axiomatic, truculently, stickler, furtive, keen, pneumatic, insurmountable, degrading, indignant
Explain how Centrifugal Bumble-puppy is played. What is the government’s perspective on the purpose of games?
- Explain how Centrifugal Bumble-puppy is played. What is the government’s perspective on the purpose of games?
- How does the Director respond to the children he catches engaged in sexual play? In this society, what sort of behavior is
considered “normal” and “abnormal? ”
- What does the Director tell the students about the way children were raised in the past? How do the students respond to
- Who is Mustapha Mond?
- Beginning on page 34, Huxley juxtaposes scenes between the Director and his students with scenes between Henry Foster
and Bernard Marx and scenes of a discussion between Fanny and Lenina Crowne. What is happening in each of these
three vignettes? What effect does the juxtaposition of the scenes create?
- Explain the saying “History is bunk.” Consider the list of things (found on page 35) that the Controller dismisses and suggest a reason for his inclusion of these particular examples of “bunk.” Are there any common themes among them?
- Based on context clues, what are Feelies (35)?
- How does the Director describe what a home was? Why effect does his description have on the students?
- What treatment is Fanny undergoing? How do you think the treatment works? Why do you think it would be prescribed?
- According to the Director, why did Ford/Freud decide that families were dangerous?
- Explain the meaning of the proverb: “every one belongs to every one else.” What does Huxley suggest about the reason
that the students accept this proverb as truth?
- Why does Fanny disapprove of Lenina’s relationship with Henry Foster?
- Explain the allegory that the Director makes using water under pressure in a pipe. How does it illustrate the danger of
monogamy or other exclusive relationships? According to the Director, why does promiscuity lead to stability?
- What does it mean to call a woman “pneumatic?” Why does Henry Foster’s conversation about Lenina anger Bernard
- Why doesn’t Fanny approve of Lenina’s interest in Bernard Marx? What is the rumor about Bernard?
- What is Ectogenesis? According to the Director, why did world governments initially reject this scientific advancement?
- What other technological and social advances/reforms did they reject, and for what reason? What changed their minds?
- Explain the “conscription of consumption” (49). How are citizens conditioned to become consumers? Why would appreciating culture or nature be at odds with consumption?
- Based on context clues, what do you think “Simple Lifers” were? What happened to them?
- What is a Malthusian belt?
- What is soma? What purpose does it serve in society?
- Describe the aging process in the World State
Vocabulary: salutation, melancholy, gape, unmalicious, simian, annihilating, stupor, imperiously, rapturous, vivaciously, manifest,
cordiality, glum, ruminating, incandescence, averted, contemptuous, wretched, emphatic, indefatigable, imploring, impotence,
- Describe transportation in the World State.
- Why does Bernard find it difficult to interact with others?
- Who is Helmholtz Watson? Explain how his character acts as a foil for Bernard Marx. What do the two men have in common? What is the basis for their friendship?
Vocabulary: plangent, perennially, impenetrable, contraceptive, atonement, lout, solidarity, annihilation, imminence, exultant,
galvanic, delirium, consummation, benevolently, prone, supine, rapture, satiety, transfigured
- On page 74, Huxley uses alliteration to describe Lenina’s childhood discovery of the hypnopædia devices. Examine the
structure of this passage. What makes Huxley’s use of language especially effective?
- How does hypnopædia help condition people to be happy? What details suggest that it is not completely effective?
- What do people in the World State believe about life after death?
- Describe the transformation of Westminster Abbey. What was its original purpose? What sort of music was associated
with the historical Westminster Abbey? What purpose does it now serve? Analyze the music that is now performed at the
Abbey. How does this transformation reflect the changed values of society?
- After Henry and Lenina leave the cabaret, Huxley comments that they remain in “happy ignorance of the night” and describes the stars as “depressing.” What social commentary does he make by using with his description of nature?
- Describe the required solidarity service. What is the purpose of the service? What tactics does the State use to achieve
- Describe Bernard Marx’s response to the solidarity service. How does his response help develop his character?
Vocabulary: grim, putrid, disquieting, obstinately, proffered, blasphemy, voluptuous, cajolery, archness, arresting, reel, unabashed,
genial, agitated, scrupulously, solecism, intrinsically, reminiscence, indecorous, anecdote, malignant, infantile, inclination, decorum, exult, embattle, elated, tonic, deplorable, brachycephalic, irrelevant, indefatigable, inconspicuously, serenely, inexorably, appalled, stoicism, carrion, fulminated
- Why does Lenina have second thoughts about going to the Savage Reservation with Bernard? Why does she decide to go?
- Why does Bernard dislike soma?
- Contrast Bernard’s response to nature with Lenina’s response.
- What does Bernard believe about the effects of conditioning? Does Lenina agree with him?
- Why is Bernard disappointed that he slept with Lenina on their first date? How does Lenina respond to his suggestion
that it would have been better to have waited?
- Why doesn’t the Director approve of Bernard traveling to the Savage Reservation? What happened to him when he visited
the reservation in his youth?
- How does the Director threaten Bernard? What effect does the threat have on him? Why do you think Bernard responds
this way to being threatened? How does his response help develop his character?
- What upsets Bernard when he is at the Reservation? What does this suggest about his values and the effectiveness of his
conditioning? Is he really that different from Lenina?
- How does Bernard respond to the news that the Director is planning to transfer him to Iceland when he returns from the
Reservation? How does his response help develop his character?
- Explain the meaning of Lenina’s adage: “Was and will make me ill, I take a gramme and only am” (104). How does Huxley’s comment that after taking soma “roots and fruits were abolished” relate to Lenina’s adage?
Vocabulary: precipitous, reciprocated, sullen, contemptuous, precipice, diadem, indignant, incredulity, emaciated, indecent, tactfully, unorthodox, innocuous, semblance, incarnadine
- How does Lenina respond to the things she sees on the Reservation? What aspects of the life of the savages are particularly distressing to her? How does Bernard respond to her criticisms?
- Summarize the religious ceremony that Lenina and Bernard witness. What do you think the purpose of the ceremony is?
Which religions does it seem to be based on?
- What does Bernard realize when he meets the young blonde savage named John?
- How does John’s mother, Linda, respond when she sees Bernard and Lenina? What has life on the Reservation been like
Vocabulary: inconceivable, treacherous, lecherous, averted, patronizing, profoundly, squeamish, cordiality, perplexed
- Summarize John’s memories of his childhood. What keeps them from being accepted by the other savages?
- What did Linda tell John about the Other Place? How does John mix up the stories his mother tells him with the mythology from the pueblo?
- What is Linda able to teach John? What does Popé give John shortly after his twelfth birthday?
- The first play that John reads is Hamlet. Explain how this play gives John a way to frame his experience and gives context to his mother’s relationship with Popé.
- How does John respond to being taught to work with clay? Contrast his experience working with clay to his mother’s description of her work in the Other Place.
- What ceremony is John excluded from participating in? How does he respond to his exclusion? Why does his experience help him discover “Time and Death and God” (136)?
- What do Bernard and John have in common? How do the ways that they deal with pain differ?
- What does Bernard offer to do for John and Linda? How does John respond to his offer?
- Miranda is a character in Shakespeare’s play, The Tempest. Explain why John might connect to her character. Research the context of the quote that he references. What is ironic about his choice of quotes?
Vocabulary: pensive, fruitless, resonant, deferential, emphatic, vestal, modesty
- Who does Bernard appeal to for permission to bring Linda and John back into civilization? Why is he granted permission?
- Explain how the works of William Shakespeare influence the way that John frames his experience of seeing the sleeping
Lenina? What is ironic about the way he perceives her?
- What is John tempted to do when he finds Lenina sound asleep? Why does he stop? Do you think John is noble or just
naïve? Explain your answer.
Vocabulary: dispassionately, heinous, unorthodoxy, subvert, coquettishly, undulation, titter, irrepressibly, disengage, scatological,
- Why do you think Huxley chooses to juxtaposition the description of the process of human fertilization in labs at the
Bloomsbury Centre at the beginning of Chapter 10 with the scene between John and the sleeping Lenina at the end of
- What are the connotations of the term “pasteurized external secretion” (147)? Based on context clues, what is pasteurized
- According to the director, what is the worst offense a person can commit? Explain the reason that he believes this. Do you
agree with him?
- Why has the Director called Bernard Marx in for a public meeting? Why does he want to accuse Bernard in front of
upper-caste workers? What charges does he make against Bernard? How does Bernard answer the Director’s accusations?
- What does Linda accuse Tomakin of doing to her? What details suggest that there may be truth to her accusation?
- In retrospect, what was ironic about the Director’s choice of the Fertilizing Room for his meeting with Bernard Shaw?
Vocabulary: quaint, clamored, demurred, rejuvenate, sonorous, palpitating, senility, carping, elation, mirth, aquiline, flaxen, malice, retching, recoil, apprehensively, pretences, obscurely, temperament, base, ignoble, exultantly
- Why is there enormous public interest in seeing John, but not in seeing his mother, Linda?
- How does Linda adjust to reentering civilization? Why does John protest his mother’s doctor’s decision to allow her take
all the soma she wants? Why does he give in and agree to let his mother stay on a permanent soma-vacation? Do you
think Linda has a right to choose to abuse soma?
- After being made John’s guardian, how does Bernard respond to his newfound popularity and importance? Why does his
response sadden his friend Helmholtz?
- How does John respond when Bernard suggests that he should be impressed by the speed of the Bombay Green Rocket?
- How does John respond to seeing the Bokanovsky Groups in the Electrical Equipment Corporation? Why do you think
he is affected this way?
- Why aren’t upper-caste children Bokanovskified?
- What is a Malthusian Drill?
- Explain how death conditioning works. Do you think it’s a good idea to condition children to not be afraid of death?
Explain your answer.
- Why is Lenina excited about going to the Feelies with the Savage? What are the Feelies? What is the movie that they see
about? How does John react to the experience? Why do you think he has this reaction?
- What does Huxley mean when he writes that John is “Bound by strong vows that had never been pronounced, obedient
to laws that had long ceased to run”(170)? How does this explain his reaction to Lenina?
- What play does John turn to in an attempt to make sense of his experience with Lenina at the Feelies? How does Lenina
comfort herself after being rejected by John? Who do you think has the better source of comfort? Explain your answer.
Vocabulary: bellowing, wheedled, hierarchy, scathing, indignation, unwonted, exultation, sepulchral, declaiming, plaintive, perversely, grievance, discomfited, inexorably, magnanimity, estrangement, copulate, latent, odious, harbinger, defunctive, defile, guffaw, tremulous, mollified, pensive
- Has Bernard’s newfound popularity changed him in any way? What does the way that the people that Bernard invited to
his party treat him reveal about their attitude towards Bernard?
- Describe Lenina’s response to the news that the Savage won’t attend the party. How has meeting John changed her? Why does Mustapha Mond decide that “A New Theory of Biology” can’t be published?
- Contrast John’s admiration of Lenina with the Arch-Community-Songster’s attitude towards her (178). What detail suggests that Lenina is beginning to mind being treated like a “piece of meat?”
- Why has Helmholtz been in trouble with the authorities? What is the theme of the poem that he wrote? What is unusual
about the structure of the poem in the context of the other rhymes composed for conditioning? What was Helmholtz’s
purpose for writing it? Who reported him?
- Explain the reason for the immediate connection between Helmholtz and the Savage. How does Bernard respond to their friendship? What does Bernard’s response reveal about the type of friend he is?
Vocabulary: contemptuously, persevere, sententiously, premonition, rakish, reproach, luscious, peerless, baseness, elation, sanctimonious, drivel, opportune, alluring, abstemious, aghast, imperceptible, impudent, strumpet, ingratiating
- What is ironic about Henry Foster’s suggestion that Lenina might need a Violent Passion Surrogate treatment?
- Why do you think Huxley adds the comment about the death of the Alpha-Plus administrator in Mwanza-Mwanza? How
do you think he intended the reader to respond to this information?
- What advice does Fanny give Lenina about how to deal with John? Do you think this is good advice? You may choose to
compare this scene to the first scene between Benvolio and Rome in Romeo and Juliet.
- Analyze John’s confession of love to Lenina. What does it reveal about the way he views her? Is there anything ironic about
the language he uses to describe his feelings? How does she respond to him?
- Why is John unable to return Lenina’s sexual advances? How has his experience of sexuality been influenced by what he
has read and seen? What things have shaped Lenina’s view of sexuality?
- Based on his half of the telephone conversation, what event causes John to leave his house abruptly?
Vocabulary: incurious, imbecile, embellished, constituents, undefiled, obstinate, sublime, ordure, balk, imploring, reproach, irresolute
- Describe the steps that have been taken to create a warm and positive atmosphere at Park Lane Hospital for the Dying.
- Examine Huxley’s use of descriptive language and imagery in the section describing the arrival of the children at the hospital. Which descriptions are especially effective or evocative?
- How do John’s memories of his childhood change after the twins arrive? Why does he become angry with his mother?
What happens to her as a result?
- Why does John’s grief upset the nurse? What is she worried might happen as a result of his public display of emotion?
How does she attempt to remedy the situation?
Vocabulary: menial, vestibule, peremptorily, derision, reparation, luminous, ardor, bestial, carapace, sullen, petrified, wanton,
- Why does John feel as if the words from The Tempest are mocking him (210)?
- How does John attempt to “save” the Delta workers? How do they respond to him?
- How do the policemen manage to subdue the angry mob? Why do you think they don’t use fear or violence as a method
- What does this chapter reveal about Bernard’s character? How is he different from Helmholtz and John?
Vocabulary: obscure, deprecating, wrath, bluster, impunity, obstinately, ingenuity, gesticulating, galvanized, paroxysm, abjection,
- What is Mustapha Mond’s position in the Word State?
- How does John respond to Mond’s observation that he doesn’t “much like civilization” (218)? What does John realize
about Mustapha Mond?
- According to Mond, why is beauty dangerous? Do you agree with him? What is the “price that must be paid” for social
- Explain what the Cyprus experiment was. How did this experiment impact social engineering in the World State?
- What does Mond plan to do with Helmholtz and Marx? How does each man respond to his punishment? What do their
responses reveal about their characters? Why does Mond say that their punishment is actually a reward?
- According to Mond, what is dangerous about science? What limits are imposed on scientific inquiry?
Vocabulary: avowed, listlessness, lulling, obscured, bolstered, superfluous, manifest, degraded, postulates
- Once John and Mustapha Mond are alone, what do they talk about?
- What books does Mond refer to as “pornographic?”
- Why do you think Mond chooses the religious passages that he reads aloud to John? What point is he trying to make?
- Does Mustapha Mond believe in God? Explain his beliefs. According to Mond, how were they able to take questions about
God out of people’s consciousness?
- Summarize both sides of the debate that Mond and John have regarding God.
- How does Mustapha Mond describe soma? Do you agree with him? Explain your answer.
- Why are V.P.S. treatments compulsory?
- What does John say that he wants instead of comfort? What right does Mond suggest that he is claiming?
- Why do you think Mond ends his conversation with John with the words “You’re welcome” (240)?
Vocabulary: hermitage, pacified, vantage, flagrant, importune, vermin, tangible, unanimity, ineradicably, turpitude
- Why does Mustapha Mond deny John’s request to go to the islands with Helmholtz? What do you think Mond is hoping
- Where does John choose to live after leaving civilization? What is symbolic about his choice?
- Why does John feel guilty? How does he seek to purify himself? Initially, what is life like for him?
- What attracts reporters to the lighthouse? How does John respond to their intrusion?
- Who is Darwin Bonaparte? What does he manage to capture on film? How does the public receive his latest film? Why is their response ironic?
- What is John thinking about when the crowds arrive? Why have they come to see him? How does John respond to them?
- How does John respond to Lenina’s presence? What do his actions incite the crowd to begin doing? Why do you think
- What does John realize when he wakes up? What does he do as a result of this realization? Do you think he made the right
Brave New World Journal Response
Chapter 1-3: What is social stability, and does it exist in the world state? Think about the uses for soma. If everyone was always happy, why would they need it?
Soma is legal, free, and encouraged. How is alcohol different from soma? Do you think is marijuana were to become legal, it would have the same effect on society? Would people be high all the time and null the pain of the real world like they do with soma?
Chapter 4-5: Why is Bernard the way he is? What does he really want? Why is Helmholtz the way he is? What does he want? How is he different from Bernard?
Chapter 6-7: Think about what it’s like to go on a first date with someone. How does your experience differ from Bernard and Lenina’s? How would you feel if your date acted like Bernard? How would you feel if your date acted like Lenina?
Chapter 8-9: What was John’s upbringing like? What is his relationship with Linda?
What about his education? Did he learn more from Linda, or the Savages?
Do you learn more from your parents, or the people you hang out with?
Chapter 10-11: How does Bernard’s life change? How does he react? What does Helmholtz think?
If you were to become famous overnight, would you flaunt your fame and glory? Would you think yourself higher than your friends?
Chapter 12-13: What role does Mustapha Mond play as a censor? Why des he do it? What does he censor? What does he really want?
How do you feel about censorship? Is it necessary? Who plays a bigger role in censorship, parents or the government?
Chapter 14-15: Why isn’t death terrible for those in the civilized world? What does this mean for the individual?
Do you think it would be better if we didn’t care so much about people dying? As a society do we mourn people’s deaths more, or celebrate their life? How does this relate to ‘Ah, Are You Digging on My Grave?’ and the time period?
Chapter 16-17: What is the significance of their discussion of religion? What does John argue religion can give to civilization? Why does Mond argue that it is unnecessary and potentially dangerous?
“We did not make ourselves, we cannot be supreme over ourselves. We are not our own masters. We are God’s property.” What point is Mond trying to make?
“One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them.” Do you agree with Mond?
Chapter 18: What is John’s decision? Why does he make it? Were there alternatives? Does John make this decision to end his suffering, or to accentuate it?
Would you be willing to give up your freedoms for world peace, an end to poverty, hunger, etc.? If so, what would you be willing to sacrifice?
What would you consider to be a utopia?
More Brave New World Journal Response Prompts
What form of technology is most important to your day to day life? What, if anything, do you think are the advantages of being able to rely on this technology? What, if anything, do you think are the dangers of relying on this technology? What do you think might be the advantages of the scientific processes described in these chapters? The dangers?
Pick a day and pay attention to the advertisements you are exposed to this day. How do these advertisements try to shape your values, behaviors, ideas? How is this similar to and/or different from the methods of indoctrination described in Brave New World?
Where do your views of appropriate and inappropriate sexual behavior come from? Describe how sex is viewed in Brave New World. How do you think this is similar or different from contemporary views of sex?
How are John Savage’s values, behaviors and ideas similar to and/or different from the dominant views of those who live outside of the reservation? How does Savage present a challenge to the dominant views of that culture?
Describe Bernard’s transformation when he returns from the reservation. What do you think this tells us about him? About dissent in general?
What importance do the words of Shakespeare have to the characters in this text? What do you think Huxley is trying to say or do by including the words of Shakespeare as he does?
Neither the reservation or the ‘civilized world’ appear to be perfect alternatives in this text. How are they similar? Different? What do you think is Huxley’s point in presenting us with these two worlds?