To utilize Brave New World excerpts for close reading and analysis, you must first identify the best examples. Here are the Brave New World excerpts that I use to get students thinking critically, analyzing, and discussing. Each example has special importance in terms of historical context, theme development, key elements, craft/style, or structure.
I group these Brave New World quotes according to the reading schedule that I follow:
Reading 1: Chapters 1 through 3
Reading 2: Chapters 4 through 6
Reading 3: Chapters 7 through 10
Reading 4: Chapters 11 through 14
Reading 5: Chapters 15 through 18
Scroll to the bottom of this post for printable PDF worksheets of these Brave New World quotes.
Brave New World Excerpts for Analysis Set #1
From Chapter 1:
The enormous room on the ground floor faced towards the north. Cold for all the summer beyond the panes, for all the tropical heat of the room itself, a harsh thin light glared through the windows, hungrily seeking some draped lay figure, some pallid shape of academic goose-flesh, but finding only the glass and nickel and bleakly shining porcelain of a laboratory. Wintriness responded to wintriness. The overalls of the workers were white, their hands gloved with a pale corpse-coloured rubber. The light was frozen, dead, a ghost. Only from the yellow barrels of the microscopes did it borrow a certain rich and living substance, lying along the polished tubes like butter, streak after luscious streak in long recession down the work tables.
From Chapter 1:
“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. For particulars, as every one knows, make for virtue and happiness; generalities are intellectually necessary evils. Not philosophers but fretsawyers and stamp collectors compose the backbone of society.
From Chapter 3:
He waved his hand; and it was as though, with an invisible feather wisk, he had brushed away a little dust, and the dust was Harappa, was Ur of the Chaldees; some spider-webs, and they were Thebes and Babylon and Knossos and Mycenae. Whisk. Whisk–and where was Odysseus, where was Job, where were Jupiter and Gotama and Jesus? Whisk–and those specks of antique dirt called Athens and Rome, Jerusalem and the Middle Kingdom–all were gone. Whisk–the place where Italy had been was empty. Whisk, the cathedrals; whisk, whisk, King Lear and the Thoughts of Pascal. Whisk, Passion; whisk, Requiem; whisk, Symphony; whisk …
Brave New World Excerpts for Analysis Set #2
From Chapter 4:
The liftman was a small simian creature, dressed in the black tunic of an Epsilon-Minus Semi-Moron. “Roof!” He flung open the gates. The warm glory of afternoon sunlight made him start and blink his eyes. “Oh, roof!” he repeated in a voice of rapture. He was as though suddenly and joyfully awakened from a dark annihilating stupor. “Roof!”
He smiled up with a kind of doggily expectant adoration into the faces of his passengers. Talking and laughing together, they stepped out into the light. The liftman looked after them.
“Roof?” he said once more, questioningly.
From Chapter 5:
“Orgy-porgy,” the dancers caught up the liturgical refrain, “Orgy-porgy, Ford and fun, kiss the girls …” And as they sang, the lights began slowly to fade–to fade and at the same time to grow warmer, richer, redder, until at last they were dancing in the crimson twilight of an Embryo Store. “Orgy-porgy …” In their blood-coloured and foetal darkness the dancers continued for a while to circulate, to beat and beat out the indefatigable rhythm. “Orgy-porgy …” … “Orgy-porgy …” Tenderly the deep Voice crooned and cooed; in the red twilight it was as though some enormous negro dove were hovering benevolently over the now prone or supine dancers.
From Chapter 6:
In a different key, “How can I?” he repeated meditatively. “No, the real problem is: How is it that I can’t, or rather– because, after all, I know quite well why I can’t–what would it be like if I could, if I were free–not enslaved by my conditioning.”
“But, Bernard, you’re saying the most awful things.”
“Don’t you wish you were free, Lenina?”
“I don’t know what you mean. I am free. Free to have the most wonderful time…”
Brave New World Excerpts for Analysis Set #3
From Chapter 7:
THE MESA was like a ship becalmed in a strait of lion-coloured dust. The channel wound between precipitous banks, and slanting from one wall to the other across the valley ran a streak of green – the river and its fields. On the prow of that stone ship in the centre of the strait, and seemingly a part of it, a shaped and geometrical outcrop of the naked rock, stood the pueblo of Malpais. Block above block, each story smaller than the one below, the tall houses rose like stepped and amputated pyramids into the blue sky. At their feet lay a straggle of low buildings, a criss-cross of walls; and on three sides the precipices fell sheer into the plain. A few columns of smoke mounted perpendicularly into the windless air and were lost.
From Chapter 8:
The other nodded. “But I mustn’t tell you what.” He was silent for a little; then, in a low voice, “Once,” he went on, “I did something that none of the others did: I stood against a rock in the middle of the day, in summer, with my arms out, like Jesus on the Cross.”
“What on earth for?”
“I wanted to know what it was like being crucified. Hanging there…”
From Chapter 8:
But the young man had evidently not heard the question. “O wonder!” he was saying; and his eyes shone, his face was brightly flushed. “How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is!” The flush suddenly deepened; he was thinking of Lenina, of an angel in bottle-green viscose, lustrous with youth and skin food, plump, benevolently smiling. His voice faltered. “O brave new world,” he began, then suddenly interrupted himself; the blood had left his cheeks; he was as pale as paper.
“O brave new world,” he repeated. “O brave new world that has such people in it. Let’s start at once.”
Related Post: Brave New World Discussion Questions (5 sets)
Brave New World Close Reading Set #4
From Chapter 11:
And, in effect, eighty-three almost noseless black brachycephalic Deltas were cold-pressing. The fifty-six four-spindle chucking and turning machines were being manipulated by fifty-six aquiline and ginger Gammas. One hundred and seven heat-conditioned Epsilon Senegalese were working in the foundry. Thirty-three Delta females, long-headed, sandy, with narrow pelvises, and all within 20 millimetres of 1 metre 69 centimetres tall, were cutting screws. In the assembling room, the dynamos were being put together by two sets of Gamma-Plus dwarfs. The two low work-tables faced one another; between them crawled the conveyor with its load of separate parts; forty-seven blonde heads were confronted by forty-seven brown ones. Forty-seven snubs by forty-seven hooks; forty-seven receding by forty-seven prognathous chins. …
From Chapter 13:
Twenty-two years, eight months, and four days from that moment, a promising young Alpha-Minus administrator at Mwanza-Mwanza was to die of trypanosomiasis–the first case for over half a century. Sighing, Lenina went on with her work.
From Chapter 13:
Outside, in the other room, the Savage was striding up and down, marching, marching to the drums and music of magical words. “The wren goes to’t and the small gilded fly does lecher in my sight.” Maddeningly they rumbled in his ears. “The fitchew nor the soiled horse goes to’t with a more riotous appetite. Down from the waist they are Centaurs, though women all above. But to the girdle do the gods inherit. Beneath is all the fiend’s. There’s hell, there’s darkness, there is the sulphurous pit, burning scalding, stench, consumption; fie, fie, fie, pain, pain! Give me an ounce of civet, good apothecary, to sweeten my imagination.”
Brave New World Close Reading Set #5
From Chapter 15:
High, low, from a multitude of separate throats, only two voices squeaked or growled. … He woke once more to external reality, looked round him, knew what he saw–knew it, with a sinking sense of horror and disgust, for the recurrent delirium of his days and nights, the nightmare of swarming indistinguishable sameness. Twins, twins. … Like maggots they had swarmed defilingly over the mystery of Linda’s death. Maggots again, but larger, full grown, they now crawled across his grief and his repentance. He halted and, with bewildered and horrified eyes, stared round him at the khaki mob, in the midst of which, overtopping it by a full head, he stood. “How many goodly creatures are there here!” The singing words mocked him derisively. “How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world…”
From Chapter 16:
“It’s an absurdity. An Alpha-decanted, Alpha-conditioned man would go mad if he had to do Epsilon Semi-Moron work–go mad, or start smashing things up. Alphas can be completely socialized–but only on condition that you make them do Alpha work. … His conditioning has laid down rails along which he’s got to run. He can’t help himself; he’s foredoomed. Even after decanting, he’s still inside a bottle…”
From Chapter 17:
“Do you remember that bit in King Lear?” said the Savage at last. “‘The gods are just and of our pleasant vices make instruments to plague us; the dark and vicious place where thee he got cost him his eyes,’ and Edmund answers–you remember, he’s wounded, he’s dying–’Thou hast spoken right; ’tis true. The wheel has come full circle; I am here.’ What about that now? Doesn’t there seem to be a God managing things, punishing, rewarding?”
“Well, does there?” questioned the Controller in his turn. “You can indulge in any number of pleasant vices with a freemartin and run no risks of having your eyes put out by your son’s mistress. ‘The wheel has come full circle; I am here.'”
Using Brave New World quotes in class:
I structure my unit so that one of the lessons that follows each of the assigned readings focuses on discussion questions and key quotes for analysis. I break the class in to small groups (4-6 students per group), pass out the discussion and analysis sets, and assign each group specific questions and excerpts. At the end of the period, students will share their key insights with the class.
I encourage students to include the text that precedes and follows the excerpt in their Brave New World close reading. They should not feel limited to the the paragraph(s) shown. In fact, some of the Brave New World quotes require context for proper analysis.
The Brave New World quotes handout comes from my Brave New World Lesson Plans resource:
Thanks for checking out Brave New World Excerpts for Analysis.
Identifying the best Brave New World quotes takes valuable time, so I hope you have found this resource helpful in planning your close reading / textual analysis lessons. If you have, check out all of the Brave New World posts from TeachNovels.