ISearch 2015: Soma Analysis

In BNW, a common mention about the society is the use of Soma. Soma is used by almost everyone within the BNW universe , and quite liberally. it’s main use is to deal with unpleasant feelings, however its also used to provide them with “Holidays”, where they seem to zone out and enter a sort of trance state.


Soma is said many times to have a sort of time-dilation effect on whoever ingests it, with “half a gramme for a half-holiday, a gramme for a week-end, two grammes for a trip to the gorgeous East, three for a dark eternity on the moon…”. This kind of effect is a possible result of the use of Marijuana, as stated in the book Altered States of Consciousness, “What happens in these cases is that most of the person’s attention is in non-time processes, so that time passage is not noted until the social consciousness returns. Then it seems that no time has passed, since there was no process noting its passage.” this works with both the time dilation effect in Soma as well as the fact that Marijuana has some hallucinogenic and psychoactive effects, which would work with this quote “there she remained; and yet wasn’t there at all, was all the time away, infinitely far away, on holiday; on holiday in some other world, where the music of the radio was a labyrinth of sonorous colours, a sliding, palpitating labyrinth, that led (by what beautifully inevitable windings) to a bright centre of absolute conviction; where the dancing images of the television box were the performers in some indescribably delicious all-singing feely; where the dripping patchouli was more than scent – was the sun, was a million saxophones”


Now one final idea is that, as stated by sociologist H.S. Becker, most of Marijuanas effects are learned rather then a direct effect of the drug, which meant that only knows who knew the drugs full effects, could access them. Now this next bit is full speculation, but seeing how they are taught extensively when they are children about how there society works, would it be out of the question to assume they teach the children about the effects of Soma, allowing the children to use them?

Key plot developments for chapter 8

the main plot point in this chapter is the explanation of Johns back-story, explaining what happened to Linda after she as injured, as well as what happened concerning John and how he learnt English. Another key plot development in this chapter is Bernard coming up with his plan to embarrass the Director, and his offer to John to get him out of the Reserve and into the World State.

Quick introduction of John savage

John Savage is introduced in chapter 7 of Brave New World. He is the son of Linda, a Beta who got stuck in the Savage Reservation and gave birth. John is excluded from the Villages due to his mother trying to continue her world-state life, breaking many of the Villages rules. John grew up with very little other people, only being around his mother and her lover Popé. He was taught to read by his mother, and eventually acquired a copy of Shakespeare, reading over many times during his life in the reserve. When he is found by Bernard and Lenina, they had just finished watching a community celebration, and they were surprised when John spoke perfect english. He then took them back to his home, where they met his mother, Linda. after a while John and Linda are taken out of the reserve, and they main part of the story begins.

A Quick Summary of Events in BNW Chapter 14

After getting a phone call about someone being ill, John rushes to The Park Lane Hospital for the Dying, where he is lead to Linda’s bedside. After a few moments trying to remember some good memories, a group of identical eight-year-old twins come in for death conditioning.when they see Linda, they are astonished and alarmed by her, leading to John striking one child. A nearby nurse then calls John out for disrupting the boys death conditioning. after the children leave, Linda awakes and begins mistaking John for Popé, which angers him as he being to demand Linda remember him as her son. Linda seems to remember who John is, and as she begins to recite a hypnopeadic phrase from her childhood, she begins to choke. John then begins to panic, going after a nearby nurse to get someone to help Linda, but by the time they get to her bed, she has died.