Brave New World: Chapter 16

Huxley’s sixteenth chapter begins a long series of discussions between Mustapha Mond and the Savage. Although these chapters are mostly dialogue, they make up the core ideology of the novel and are crucial to understanding its meaning. When the Savage asks the Controller why many of the old books like Othello are prohibited, Mond answers, “Because our world is not the same as Othello’s world… you can’t make tragedies without social instability. The world’s stable now. People are happy; they get what they want, and they never want what they can’t get… You’ve got to choose between happiness and what people used to call high art. We’ve sacrificed the high art.”Later, when the Savage asks why everyone isn’t made into an Alpha Double-Plus, the Controller responds by telling him a story about how an experiment was done on an island where everyone was an Alpha. Eventually almost everyone died because none of the Alphas were willing to do Epsilon work; they weren’t the least bit tolerant of authority. Then he goes on to say that the perfect population has a variety of castes to do different work. Society functions best this way.Finally Mond sends Bernard to Iceland and Helmholtz to the Falkland Islands. “Happiness,” he says, “has to be paid for. You’re paying for it…”