The Bokanovsky Process (Shocking an Egg So That Is Divides to Make 96 Identical Eggs)

The Bokanovsky Process (Shocking an Egg So That Is Divides to Make 96 Identical Eggs)

Brave New World

Reading Notes

Chapters 1-11

Abstract: A cautionary tale- warning us to be careful of what our society could become if we do not take care of our world, and be careful of things.

Chapter 1:

Setting:The year is A.F. 632 (632 years after “Ford”). The projected world is now taking place in 2540. This is a world-wide community, but the setting is now in London.

- Students are touring the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Center (the motto is: Community, Identity, Stability) led by The Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning. As they are escorted through the Fertilizing Room and taught about the Bokanovsky Process- arrests in development which aid in Social Stability, they learn that many sets of identical humans are created all for the purpose of production and stability. Humans are created and conditioned for their predestination in the World State. There is competition with other countries on how many ‘twins’ can be created.

The Bokanovsky Process (shocking an egg so that is divides to make 96 identical eggs):

In order to create humans, ovaries are surgically removed and fertilized in artificial tubes. These tubes are sent down conveyor belts where they are incubated pertaining to their predestination.

The five castes are: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Epsilon. Alpha and Beta do not undergo the shocking process because this weakens embryos.

After fertilization the embryos travel for 267, enough time for a human fetus to be created. On the final day, they are “born.”

70% of female embryos are sterile  known as freemartins

Lower Caste embryos Gamma, Delta, Epsilon) receive less oxygen and alcohol during production.

-Lenina Crowne- Beta- her job is to immunize the fetuses which will work in tropical climates. She will be going on a date with Henry Forster in the afternoon.

**The sign of the T on the characters – this is how society’s members make the symbol of the T on their chest and how they show their reverence for the Ford as a religious figure. (This is connected to making the sign of the cross, as in religion).


- The students are brought into the Nurseries. The Bokanovsky Process is observed of eight month olds wearing Khaki. The nurses show the babies books and flowers. As the babies crawl toward the books, alarms begin to ring loudly, followed by an electric shock. The Director explains that after 200 repetitions of this process, the babies will learn to hate books and flowers. This teaches them not to waste the community’s time and their production time by reading books and admiring flowers.

Analysis: In the past, Gammas, Deltas and Epsilons were told to go into nature and visit the country and “consume transport.” As a result, these Castes did not produce anything and it was looked at as a waste of time. The lower castes are now conditioned to hate nature.

- Reuben (his parents are Polish speaking) was a young boy on whom the idea of hypnopaedia was created. Reuben’s parents left the radio on one night while he slept and he woke up reciting a speech by George Bernard Shaw. His parents thought something was wrong with him and brought him to a doctor. This eventually became useless for intellectual training. Reuben could recite words from the speech, but when asked simple questions about the meaning of things in the speech, he simply continued reciting the speech.

- Hypnopaedia was created 23 years after the first Ford model T was created.

- Elementary Sex Lesson and the Elementary Class Consciousness lesson. Children are told things as they are sleeping. They are told that Alpha children have to work harder than the other castes. Betas are told that they don’t have to work as hard as Alphas but they are smarter than the three lower castes. This lesson is repeated 120 times (3x a week for 30 months).


- Children are encouraged to engage in erotic play. A little boy becomes upset and is crying during this activity. He is led to a psychologist by the nurse.

ANALYSIS: Having the children engage in sexual play early in life, will eliminate sexual repression, lust, desire and monogamy later in life.

- Mustapha Mond- The Resident Controller of Western Europe. One of the Ten World Controllers. He says, “History of bunk.” The characters should live in the present. All books, and works from history have been destroyed. Individuals will be more productive, if they are not dwelling in the past.

- Fanny and Lenina Crowne. Fanny works in the Bottling Room. Both women discuss what they will do that night. Lenina will be going on a date with Henry again, to which Fanny critiques how she needs to date and ‘be with’ many men. Fanny then explains that she has been feeling ‘out of sorts, lately’ and that Dr. Wells has given her Pregnancy Substitutes.

SUPPORTING QUOTE: “It’s such horribly bad form to go on and on like this with one man. At forty, or thirty-five, it wouldn’t be so bad. But at your age, Lenina! No, it really won’t do. And you know how strongly the DHC objects to anything intense or long-drawn.”

SUPPORTING QUOTE: “feeling lurks in that interval of time between desire and its consummation.”

- The dangers of family life- how could families be stable? Both words were considered pornographic and are derogatory.


- Lenina meets up with Bernard Marx in the elevator leading to the rooftop. She is on her way to meet Henry. Lenina and Bernard begin discussing a trip to New Mexico for a week in July. She was publicly trying to ‘disprove’ her faithfulness to Henry Ford in front of people. Once on the rooftop, she runs across the rooftop to meet Henry. Benito Hoover is standing behind Bernard smiling. Benito offers Bernard Soma, and Bernard runs away.

SOMA- a drug used to change psychological states. Drug given to the people of the World State in order to ensure happiness.

- Henry and Lenina ride in his helicopter, which he is flying. They ride above London and people below looked like tiny specks. Noticing the khaki colored uniforms below, Lenina comments on how ugly the color is. Then finally they arrived at Stoke Poges, and played Obstacle Golf.

-The chapter now focuses on Bernard (an Alpha) and his dislike of Benito. He also seems disturbed by the fact that Lenina has gone off with Henry to play Golf. He is disgusted that Lenina is basically following the path of a “healthy and virtuous English girl.” He also did not like his own superiority when dealing with Delta-Minus attendants. He calls them to bring his machine out on the roof. Bernard flies his plane towards the river. He landed on the roof of the Propaganda House and called for Mr. Helmholtz Watson (a lecturer at the College of Emotional Engineering Department of Writing. He also wrote for The Hourly Radio).

SUPPORTING QUOTE: “I am I, and wish I wasn’t.”


  • Bernard was shorter than the average Alpha, and his physique was better than that of the average Gamma. There was talk that there was alcohol in his blood-surrogate. He was mocked and felt like an outsider. He made proposals to women who laughed at him and he also felt prejudice against him. He was jealous of Henry and Benito because they knew their place and lower castes did not judge/question them.
  • Helmholtz Watson was ‘too able’. A mental excess produced in Helmholtz Watson effects very similar to which, similarly in Bernard Marx, were the result of a physical defect. (He was a ladies man. He had 640 different women in 4 years).

Both men shared the knowledge that they were individuals. Both men had become aware of their differences and what make them stand out from the people around them.

- Bernard went to Helmholtz to discuss what it is that Bernard is lacking. He cannot figure this out, and hopes that Helmholtz will be able to tell him this. They went to Bernard’s apartment and discussed further.


- Lenina and Henry are done playing golf and begin their journey home in Henry’s plane. They pass a Crematorium and discuss the phosphorus recovery from the bodies which are burned. “They now recover over ninety-eight per cent of it. More than a kilo and a half per adult corpse.” Henry was pleased with the information he had given to Lenina about the phosphorus from the crematorium. “Fine to think we can go on being socially useful even after we’re dead. Making plants grow.” They both witness a ‘switchback’ (a blast of gas from the crematorium) and marvel at what type of person could have created that with their bodies. Both Henry and Lenina commented on how everyone is happy now (this is something that has been repeated to them hundreds of times through hypnopaedia.

- Lenina and Henry take Soma and enjoy some music. They are oblivious to the outside world and the darkness. Soma has acted as a wall, blocking them from the reality around them. A voice comes over the speaker telling all that it is time for sleep. Lenina and Henry leave together. Lenina comments about the automaticity with which she takes her Birth Control.

*NOTE- there is significant imagery and allusion to religion in PART II. “Thank Ford”  Thank God. “The group was now complete, the solidarity circle perfect and without flaw. Man, woman, man, in a ring of endless alternation round the table. Twelve of them ready to be made one, waiting to come together, to be fused, to lose their twelve separate identities in a larger being.”

  • NOTE- 12 members  12 disciples. “twelve times quaffed” … “Twelve yearning stanzas”
  • NOTE- 3 kings/the Holy Trinity.
  • NOTE- religion/church  “one Body in Christ”
  • “The President made a sign of the T and began service”  similar to making a sign of the cross and beginning a mass.
  • NOTE- hymns are sung.
  • NOTE- the passing of the strawberry ice cream SOMA shake  Similar to the sharing of the ‘blood of Christ’ during a religious ceremony.
  • NOTE- the use of the color crimson  blood.

-Bernard arrives at the Ford’s Day celebrations and sits quickly next to Morgana Rothschild. He spoke to her about what a nice day it is for a celebration, to which she ignored him. He, once again, thinks of himself as a failure. Bernard perseverates about Morgana’s eye brows.

- Each person at the table is taking soma, as it is crushed and put into a strawberry ice cream. Bernard feels himself ‘melting’ as the others do at his table. He is suddenly brought back to his reality when he sees Morgana’s eyebrows, during each circle of the cup of soma. When the crowd begins to cheer saying, “ I can see him coming!” Bernard does not actually believe this, nor does he see anyone, but he joins in with the shouting.

- Orgy Porgy- the ceremony is an orgy with everyone dancing and touching each other in unison (12 becomes one). The service has given people a release, but Bernard feels more separate and isolated than before. He lies to Fifi as she proclaims how wonderful she feels and what a fantastic ceremony it was. “He was as miserably isolated now as he had been when the service began- more isolated by reason of his unreplenished emptiness, his dead satiety. Separate and unatoned, while the others were bring fused into the Greater Being; along even in Morgana’s embrace-much more alone, indeed, more hopelessly himself than he had ever been in his life before.”


- Lenina thought Bernard (an Alpha-Plus Psychologist) was odd. She was planning on vacationing with him to New Mexico. Lenina has been on many dates to many places with many men (North Pole with Benito Hoover and George Edzel; New York with Jean-Jacques Habibullah/ or Bokanovsky Jones). While in New Mexico, Lenina and Bernard would be in a Savage Reservation (Bernard is one of a few people who have a permit for this area).

  • Bernard did not want to swim at Toquay Country Club.
  • Bernard did not want to dine at Oxford Union  he thought there was too much of a crowd.
  • Bernard did not want to play magnetic golf at St. Andrews  he thought it was a waste of time.

*Bernard wanted to go for a walk in the Lake District and then a walk- alone with Lenina*

Bernard’s dating habits are different from those of the World State. He wants a steady relationship rather than simply “having” many women. He wants to talk and get to know Lenina instead of immediately becoming intimate. He would prefer to go to the park or on a helicopter ride instead of going somewhere where Bernard is looking.

Lenina does not understand that, although they will be alone at night, Bernard simply wanted to speak with her.

- People think Bernard is odd:

“ ‘Alcohol in his blood-surrogate’” was what Fanny had to say about him.

“’You can’t teach a rhinoceros tricks. Some men are almost rhinoceroses; they don’t respond properly to conditioning. Poor Devils! Bernard’s one of them. Luckily for him, he’s pretty good at his job. Otherwise the Director would never have kept him.’”

- During a helicopter ride, Bernard tells Lenina that he does not want to be a part of the bigger community. He does not want to think like them and act like them.

SUPPORTING QUOTE: “…as though I were more me, if you see what I mean. More on my own, not so completely a part of something else. Not just a cell in the social body. Doesn’t it make you feel like that, Lenina?”

ANALYSIS: Bernard is demonstrating his independence. He does not want to conform. Lenina is not comfortable with this and begins crying. She is “shocked by his blasphemy.” Bernard asks Lenina why she wants to be “enslaved” and if she wishes she was free. Lenina responds that everyone is free. She has been properly conditioned and accepts society and society’s ways.

- Lenina encourages Bernard to take Soma so that he does not think this way. Bernard flies high in the sky and fondles Lenina’s breast in the process. Lenina is happy because she believes Bernard is feeling better and not thinking so independently. Later on, Bernard took 4 Soma tablets.

- Bernard and Lenina recount the night they spent together and how Bernard wishes it had ended differently. Lenina believes that shouldn’t happen on the first night together. “I want to know what passion is… I want to feel something strongly.”-Bernard. Lenina replies saying, “When the individual feels, the community reels.”

- Bernard brought papers from The World Controller’s Office to The Director’s office to be initialed. The paperwork dealt with The Savage Reservation. The Director recounted a story how he visited the reservation with a girl he was once with (a Beta-Minus). He went to the reservations with a girl, and the girl went missing. There was a search for her, but she was never found. The Director still dreams about her sometimes.

- The Director is angry at Bernard because he refuses to conform to society. He is actually angry at himself because he showed how he truly felt about traveling to the Reservation and losing the Beta Minus woman who went with him. (Pg. 96)

ANALYSIS: He suddenly realizes that he could perhaps be giving Bernard the wrong idea. He quickly reminds Bernard that he did not have any strong attachment to this girl and it was all perfectly healthy and normal. He then says, “And I should like to take this opportunity… of saying that I’m not at all pleased with your reports I receive of your behavior outside of working hours. You may say that this is not my business, but it is… My workers must be above suspicion, particularly those of the highest castes.”

Bernard is threatened by the Director and warned that if he hears of this behavior again, he will be transferred to Iceland to a Sub-Center.

*This did not threaten Bernard, however. Bernard is exulted that his independence and ‘battle against order’ has been recognized. The Director is concerned that Bernard could tell this “discreditable secret” and make him look foolish in BNW Society.

Bernard told Helmholtz this story, to which Helmholtz had no reaction. He did not Bernard’s overconfident nature and how he bragged about himself.

-Electro-magnetic Golf.

- In The Reservation, people are actually born.

“Those, I repeat, who are born in the Reservation are destined to die there.”

- Lenina and Bernard are brought to the Reservation.

- When Bernard first hears of being banished to Iceland, he is excited by the news. He feels happy and like a rebel (humorous because Bernard is not the kind of character we would assume to be a rebel. He whistles while leaving the Director. However, when Iceland seems more like a reality, he becomes scared. Lenina is able to get him to calm down and take a few tablets of soma. He sinks away into tranquility.