Tuesday, March 5, 2013
BNW Chapter 7
Lenina sees the buildings of Malpais from a distance and condemns it as queer, along with the Indian guide who is taking them to the pueblo, or town. She complains about having to walk, and about how he smells. She is disgusted and incredulous when she sees the garbage and the flies where people are living. "Cleanliness is next to fordliness," she says, and Bernard responds sarcastically with another piece of sleep-taught wisdom, "Yes, and civilization is sterilization." She sees an old man for the first time and wonders what is wrong with him. Bernard explains that old age is prevented outside the reservation through inoculations and the artificially constructed chemical balance of youth which scientists create. Lenina searches her pockets and discovers with horror that she left her soma in the hotel. She is horrified to see women nursing, and more horrified when Bernard is touched by its intimacy. He even goes as far as to suggest that she has missed out on a wonderful experience, having not been a mother herself. She sees a ceremony and hears drums and mistakes it for an orgy-porgy. But soon the similarity disappears, as naked painted dancing people emerge, shrieking, with snakes, and crucifixes, whipping a young man until he bleeds. Lenina begins to sob.
They meet a young man,John, in Indian dress. He seems out of place because he speaks faultless English and has straw-colored hair and white skin. He asks Bernard and Lenina if they have come from The Other Place. He tells Bernard and Lenina that he wishes it had been him who had been whipped, because he wanted to be the sacrifice to Pookong and Jesus to make rain come and corn grow. Lenina stares at him, admiring his body, and he blushes. He explains that he and his mother Linda are strangers in the Reservation, and that she had come from The Other Place before he was born, with a man who was his father. Bernard listens intently. Linda fell while walking alone and was rescued by members of Malpais. The young man tells Bernard that the man's name was Tomakin. Bernard remembers that the Director's name is Thomas.
They go to meet Linda. Lenina is beyond disgusted with the wrinkled, filthy woman. She is revolted as Linda, reeking of alcohol, embraces her and even kisses her. Linda is absolutely ecstatic to see pieces of the Other Place, and she touches Lenina's clothing and babbles, reminiscing about aspects of World State life like the buildings, the contraception, and how much she has missed the sterility of civilization. She whispers about the madness of the Malpais society: they mend, they wear hard wool, and they practice monogamy. She does not understand a society in which everyone does not belong to everyone else, that is, have sex with everyone else, and all the women have turned against her because all the men used to come and have sex with her. She complains that her son John seems more influenced by the Indian society in which he has been raised than of the society of The Other Place, which she still holds as the ideal, and indeed, only way to live.