'Brave New World' Characters

The characters of Brave New World come either from the World State or from the Reserve, where the regimented conditioning did not take hold.

Bernard Marx

Bernard Marx is the protagonist of the first half of the novel. He is a sleep-training specialist working at the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre. Even though he technically belongs to the Alpha Plus caste, an alcohol mishap while his embryo was decanting slightly stunted him: he is shorter than his fellow Alphas, which makes him depressive and resentful of the society he lives in. Unlike his peers, he does not like team sports, casual services and solidarity services, and is not that fond of society’s official happiness drug, known as soma. He is in love with Lenina Crowne, but does not like the fact that she partakes in the promiscuity promoted by the world state. 

After his visit to the Reservation, Marx brings John and Linda back, outing his boss for anti-social actions. His reputation skyrockets, but this is short-lived. Popularity gets into his head, and he soon returns to his old ways. At the end, he and his friend and fellow intellectual curmudgeon Helmholtz are exiled.

John, “The Savage”

John is the protagonist of the second half of the novel. He is the son of the Director and Linda, born naturally and raised in the Savage Reservation after a pregnant Linda was left behind by the Director. He is an outsider both on the Reservation, where natives still live in the old way, practicing marriage, natural birth, and experiencing old age, and the World State. His main form of education comes from The Complete Works of Shakespeare, whose lines he quotes extensively in his speeches. He refers to the World State, for instance as “Brave New World,” quoting Miranda from The Tempest, and thinks of love in the terms detailed by Romeo and Juliet. His moral code stems from the Shakespearean opus as well as the social mores of the Malpais (the Reservation). Because of that, he sees his mother as a whore who, having grown up in the World State, was used to casual sex.

Despite his attraction to Lenina, John violently rejects her when she fails to measure up to the idea of love he learned from Shakespeare. The same applies to the entire utopian society, as he sees the technological wonders and consumerism as poor substitutes for individual freedom and emotions. After his mother’s death, he confines himself to a lighthouse, where he tends to a garden and self-flagellates in order to purify himself from desire. When eventually he fails to do so, he hangs himself.

Lenina Crowne

Lenina Crowne is a beautiful, “pneumatic,” foetus technician who works at the Hatchery. Unlike the majority of women, Lenina is not a “freemartin,” meaning that she is not sterile and, despite the society-mandated promiscuity, she had a four-month exclusive relationship with Henry Foster. 

She uses soma to suppress all negative emotions. She is intrigued by the sullen Bernard, with whom she has a date before leaving with him for the Reservation. 

Lenina gets infatuated with John, and, while the attraction is mutual, the two can’t properly act on it. While she is mainly looking for something physical, he is trying to live up to an ideal set by Shakespeare’s poetry, and when she fails to meet that standard, he violently rejects her, calling her “impudent strumpet.” When she visits him in his secluded lighthouse, he attacks her with a whip, which prompts onlookers to do the same. Her exact fate is left unspecified. 

Mustapha Mond

Mond is the Resident World Controller of Western Europe, his honorific being “His Fordship.” He advocates for the World State’s ethos of “Community, Identity, and Stability,” and is aware of the nature of the society he oversees, and the price they had to pay to achieve the trifecta of community, identity, and stability. In fact, in a conversation with John, he argues that artistic and scientific freedom must be sacrificed in the name of the optimal societal happiness, which also subsists on caste systems and odd methods of indoctrinations. All of these policies, he believes, are necessary in order to achieve social stability, which is the key to lasting happiness.

The Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning (DHC)

Also known as Thomas “Tomakin,” he is the administrator of the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre. He is at odds with Bernard, whom he plans to exile to Iceland. However, things take a turn when Bernard returns to London with Linda and her son John in tow. Bernard outs him as John’s father, which is scandalous not because of its extra-marital nature—as are all sexual acts in the World State—but because his birth was a procreative act. This revelation leads the DHC to resign in infamy.

Linda

Originally a Beta-Minus in the World State, where she worked in the Fertilizing Room, she got lost during a storm while visiting the New Mexico Savage reservation with the DHC. Despite following her precautions, she got pregnant with the director’s son, and, upon discovering it, she was unable to return to World State. While remaining in the Reservation, she still kept her World-State ways, engaging in promiscuity. This makes her both popular with most men in the pueblo and also reviled, being seen as a whore. Her comforts are mescal, brought to her by her lover Popé, and peyotl. She desperately wants to go back to the World State and soma, yearning for comfort before her impending death.

Popé

Popé is a native of the Reservation. Linda takes him as a lover, which caused John to try to kill him, an attempt Popé brushed off. He brings her mescal and holds on to the traditional values of his tribe. He is the one who gave Linda The Complete Works of Shakespeare, which John uses as his own ethical foundation.

Fanny Crowne

Fanny is a friend of Lenina’s, with whom she shares the last name because only 10.000 last names are used in the World State. She is the character who explains how the value of promiscuity works in the World State: she advises Lenina to keep more than one lover, but also warns her from one who seems undeserving. Fanny understands her friend’s attraction to the savage John.