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Ievgueni Zamiatine

Summary

Traumatized by her experience in Malpais, Lenina feels deserving of a “soma-holiday” once she and Bernard return to the Rest House. She takes six tablets and lies down for an 18-hour deep sleep.

While she’s sleeping, Bernard takes a helicopter to Santa Fe to start making arrangements for John and Linda to return to London with him. He gets Mustapha Mond on the telephone, who approves and has orders sent to the Warden of the Reservation.

While Bernard is gone, John arrives at the Rest House and at first thinks that Bernard and Lenina have left without him. He sits down and weeps openly for half an hour. Then he spies Lenina’s suitcase through the window and breaks into the room. Ecstatically, he goes through the contents of Lenina’s suitcase, marveling at her clothes, perfumes and powders. When he notices her sleeping on the bed, he compares her to Shakespeare’s Juliet, and almost dares to touch her but decides that his hands are not worthy to touch such beauty.

At the sound of Bernard’s helicopter, John rushes from the room and greets Bernard as he disembarks.

Analysis

In Chapter 9, we get more insight into Bernard’s character with his smug self-satisfaction about his plan working out. He arrogantly drops the World Controller’s name to the Warden as if he and Mustapha Mond are old friends. Bernard’s anticipation of humiliating the Director says much about the self-serving nature of his character. Also, Bernard is becoming overly confident in himself, which alerts us to his inevitable fall.

John’s fascination with Lenina’s clothing and perfumes illustrates how exotic she is to him, and he to her. They come from completely different worlds, and the lovely things she has in her suitcase symbolize for John the wonder and beauty of the “brave new world” from which she comes. His invocation of lines from Romeo and Juliet create the sense of an idealized, romantic worship of Lenina, and also remind us that Shakespeare is his only reference point for understanding the world. His high-flown romanticism is in stark contrast to the way sex has been handled throughout the book, and underscores the extreme difference between his understanding of sex and love and Lenina’s understanding of them.

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