John the Savage in Brave New World

Topics: Brave New World

Aldous Huxley, born in Surrey, England in 1894 belonged to England’s intellectual aristocracy. He is one of the most accomplished and influential mid 20th century figures, specifically his work Brave New World, a dystopian/ sci fi novel that introduces the reader to a world without emotional intuition, moral conscious, or religion, instead emotions and intelligence are mechanically introduced. In Brave New World, one of the main characters is John the Savage, who the reader encounters in the middle of the novel so the reader can familiarize with the World state and John’s reaction to the World State’s ideals and actions.

John the Savage is not of the World State, but rather from New Mexico and we can clearly see the differences of living and ideas in both worlds. John the Savage reflects his ideologies across vast promiscuous waters, with his feelings of emptiness constructing a bridge to get him to want something more that leads to his self-inflicted death.

Aldous Huxley describes his World State as a byproduct of technological advancement and the amount of stability it offers, which is a major concern for his protagonist. As a reader, The World State is perceived as means of robbing human conscious and essential humanity although it seems like it provides everything. ‘’Just to give you a general idea,’ he would explain to them. For of course some sort of general idea they must have, if they were to do their work intelligently—though as little of one, if they were to be good and happy members of society, as possible.

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For particulars, as everyone knows, make for virtue and happiness; generalities are intellectually necessary evils ( Huxley 4). John the Savage from New Mexico seems to represent normal human beings, who naturally uncovers the depth in contrast with the World State. Aldous Huxley quickly debunks that thought , revealing that John from an early age had been controlled had been acclimatized as individuals in the World State, which eventually is a cause of his self inflicted death. At first, John seems to play the fake figure known as the savage. The savage, usually a man grows up isolated from others yet possesses a sense of morality. John “the Savage,” actually undermines this concept, John challenges the status quo of the World State by displaying his own set of beliefs. Having parents from the World State, John retains some of the qualities of growing up in the World State, but does not display them due to how he was brought up in the reservation. He has no idea how to react to the World State and cannot control his sentiment and emotions.

John’s home, the Savage Reservation, is similar to some of our cultures. John’s customs that have been taught to him by the reservation are expectations that must be carried out. He has been taught to value strength and masculinity, and is disappointed that he cannot prove himself through rituals of the tribe. The tribe has a reference for the divine in John, as well as a belief in committed relationships, as we can see with John’s mother sleeping with multiple men( Huxley 140). This proves how powerful an influence the Reservation can be on him, adopting their views on religion, love, and individuality, John rejects the teachings of his mother, Linda, who cares very deeply for him.

John the savage’s relationship with Bernard Marx was different from his relationships with others in the sense that their views on sex and love coincide with each other on a personal level. Self described rebels who do not fit in with the rest of the sex obsessed society. As an Alpha, Bernard is expected to be physically in line with other alphas, but he is not, which causes his confidence to lower significantly and he regards himself lower than all of the other alphas who are physically different (Huxley 78). The Director and Linda are both of the new world and birthed John, as a result, John is not allowed in rituals because of his background, even though he was born there. These two characters really want to fit in with the rest of society and they try very hard to. Bernard wanted to take John back to London because of the fame and in doing this, he found his place in society, whereas John was introduced to a very different society.

In the end, the World State doesn’t destroy John for being a non-believer, as we might have expected. Rather, John kills himself when his conditioning convinces him that he is nothing and wicked (Huxley 311). John’s preconceived notions of love and romance do not represent natural concepts. Rather, he has learned everything he knows about proper relations from a book, specifically, the collected works of Shakespeare. While we might see John’s desire for passion and fidelity as laudable, Romeo and Juliet represents just one of the romantic scripts he has learned. At other points in the novel, he identifies more with characters who express physical expressions of sexuality that they are driven to murder, suicide, and other brutal acts.John has a form of self punishment at the end when he locks himself in the lighthouse.. John’s value system is revealed to be the mirror image of the World State’s, which celebrates sexuality and forbids romantic love; his self harm represents violent, physical versions of the technological conditioning practiced by the government.It would be easy to see John’s interest t in love and individuality as principles, since his beliefs seem to coincide with our personal beliefs reflect our own cultural values. World State brainwashes citizens into thinking government given feelings are natural, while feelings that are usually felt are a mere nothing.

In conclusion, John the Savage reflects the ideologies of the World State through his aesthetically pleasing actions which leads to his hanging under the spotlight. The reader notices the continuously drastic changes that John undergoes and how it affects his mind state, proving that the world state consumes the lives of those who speak out against it and refuse to live the soma lifestyle. John’s drastic choices affected his relationships and ultimately himself. John the Savage was an amazing character and this novel would have no context or meaning If it wasn’t for the outgoing, searching, confused John ‘’The Savage.’’

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John the Savage in Brave New World. (2022, Apr 22). Retrieved from

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