open/close all folders
John the Savage
- Affectionate Parody: He is a parody of Huxley's late friend, D.H. Lawrence... but as the novel progresses, said likeness becomes less affectionate.
- A Taste of the Lash: Self-flagellation. People find it amusing while he considers it atonement.
- Black-and-White Insanity: By the end, he considers happiness to be bad, and asserts his right to be unhappy. To the point where he's harming himself if he shows the slightest inclination of being happy.
- Disappeared Dad: His father was not even aware that he got John's mother pregnant.
- Driven to Suicide: Hangs himself at the end of the novel because he can't cope with the combined grief of his mother's death and himself falling victim to the sins of civilized society.
- Honor Before Reason: He wants to follow Shakespearean tragedy and earn through suffering in a world where you can just guzzle on drugs if you stub your toe.
- Ignorant of Their Own Ignorance: For all that he's read and can recite, John really doesn't get Shakespeare. His ultra-prudish nature, misquotations, misuse of quotes, and even self-attestation of not completely understanding Hamlet, do not reflect an in-depth comprehension of The Bard's works.
- Romance and Sexuality Separation: John has a severe Madonna-Whore Complex problem and constantly rejects his love interest Lenina's attempts to have sex with him despite his intense sexual desire for her because he treats her as a goddess of perfect purity instead of the Free-Love Future inhabitant she really is.
- Self-Harm: Via self-flaggellation and self-induced vomiting.
- Shout-Out to Shakespeare: He does that a lot as Shakespeare is what he grew up with.
- The Savage Indian: He's ethnically European, but otherwise plays this role to the society depicted in the story.
- Speaks in Shout-Outs: Peppers his conversation liberally with lines from William Shakespeare plays like The Tempest.
- All of the Other Reindeer: He's ostracized from Alpha society for being shorter and quirkier than most other members of the caste, and is very resentful of being treated in such a way.
- Childhood Brain Damage: It's rumoured that Bernard Marx's eccentricities are caused by an excess of alcohol in his blood-surrogate while he was being grown.
- Decoy Protagonist: He's the main character for roughly the first half of the novel, but has very little to do plot-wise once John enters the story, and in the end is only about as important as Lenina.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Ruins the DHC's career (albeit partially unintentionally) because he wanted to transfer him to Iceland. Somewhat justified, since Bernard considers the transfer a case of Reassigned to Antarctica.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Played With in his friendship with Helmholtz. They have this dynamic when first introduced, and Helmholtz definitely considers Bernard to be his friend, but as the novel progresses it becomes increasingly clear that Bernard only hangs around him for lack of anybody else.
- Hypocrite / What You Are in the Dark: As his change in behaviour during his power trip shows, Bernard was not disgusted by the actions of the Alpha high society as much as he was jealous of it.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Though in his case "normal" means "an accepted member of Alpha high society".
- I Just Want to Be Special: His envy of Helmholtz. He likes to think he is better than anyone else for not liking society but then there is someone who can both hate it for better reason and be accepted in that society.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex: Bernard's jerkass behavior is partly motivated by a need to prove that he is an Alpha.
- It's All About Me: He becomes really self-centered as the story goes on and mocks the Savage and Watson's bonding over Shakespeare.
- Moral Myopia: Destroying careers and objectifying women is wrong when he is not doing it.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: He spends much of the book trying to avert an unwanted transfer to Iceland, which would leave him isolated from society. In the end, he ultimately fails and gets shipped off anyway, though Mustapha Mond suggests that his new home isn't as terrible as Bernard believes it to be.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: When the Savage makes him a star he has an inflated ego and starts enjoying society. Same guy who complained about comparing Lenina to a piece of meat now sleeps with everyone because he can.
- The Ace: Is considered to be this even among the other Alphas, which angers Bernard to no end despite their closeness. He's extremely intelligent, effortlessly charismatic, and is definitely described to be something of a Hunk for good measure. He's also a...
- Broken Ace: He's popular, kind, can get any girl he wants, and is well-regarded even by his distant superiors. He's also clearly struggling with depression and frustration over his day job of composing mindless propaganda jingles when what he actually wants is to make real art. It's telling that his only real friend is Bernard, who is an outcast among the Alphas.
- Chick Magnet: Women just sorta flock to him. He's not interested, which is another thing that contrasts him with Bernard.
- Face Death with Dignity: Non-lethal variety. At the end of the novel, he's rather at peace with being Reassigned to Antarctica by Mustapha Mond, because he knows that it's the only chance he'll get to pursue his artistic dreams.
- Freudian Trio: Id. He used to enjoy the society until he got bored about how simple fun isn't doing it for him anymore and wants more.
- Intelligence Equals Isolation: He is the best at what he does, but the problem is by being too good he realizes how basic his writings are and how everyone around him are brainwashed dullards.
- Nice Guy: Unlike the other Alphas (of which Bernard is decidedly not an exception), he's genuinely kind, patient, and understanding, and doesn't just affect those traits for the sake of being social. Bernard actually gets infuriated at multiple points by what an implacably good person Helmholtz is.
- Only Sane Man: Among the novel's main characters, he's pretty much the only character who isn't either swept up in the mindless doldrums of society (like Bernard or Lenina) or actively possessing a hand in perpetuating it (like Mustapha Mond). He's also the only character who actually gets something approaching a happy ending.
- Really Gets Around: Well, he used to, until he found a new purpose: looking for something worth writing about.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: At the end, Mustapha Mond has him transferred to the Falkland Islands on account of knowing too much about civilized society. He accepts it because he knows it's the only way he'll ever be able to create real art.
- True Art Is Angsty: He wants to make true art, anyway, and what little we see of his personal work is definitely pretty angsty.
- Ignorant of Their Own Ignorance: At first she tries to figure out something is off with having to sleep with everyone and lower classes doing the grunt work but it's quickly ignored due to the conditioning. She mostly serves as a viewpoint of how brainwashed Betas act.
- Love Hurts: Oof, she gets this bad over John.
- Meaningful Appearance: She's a Beta, who primarily wear white clothes. There's also some associated symbolism, what with how John holds her up on a moral pedestal.
- Ms. Fanservice: There's a lot of attention given to her body.
- Really Gets Around: Well it's part of society and unlike the main characters she is not either too ugly or too bored by the system to suffer from it.
- Satellite Love Interest: Zig-Zagged. Lenina, to the reader, is definitely a Satellite Love Interest. To everyone else in the story, she's a somewhat abnormal woman. To the man she actually loves, she's not even a love interest to him, and, in fact, considers her odd for a different number of reasons, but still considers her shallow.
- What Is This Feeling?: Very clearly starts developing feelings towards John that go beyond baseline physical attraction, but as a member of a society that firmly ostracizes such things, she has no idea what to do with those feelings or even how to properly describe them.
- Affably Evil: Mustapha Mond is eloquent and polite as he explains the workings of the World Society to the Savage. He pretty much gives the heroes what they really want.
- Anti-Villain: Despite being at the head of the dystopian society of the book, he doesn't come off as a cackling madman, but a person who simply does what he believes needs to be done.
- Big Bad: In as much as a story with No Antagonist can be considered to have a villain. He's one of a few people responsible for creating and maintaining the dystopian society of the novel in the name of maintaining continuous peace and happiness.
- The Chains of Commanding: Running a dystopia isn't as easy as it looks. Granted, it's mostly because it bores him.
- Dark Messiah: Hmmm, let's see.
- "Mond" means world. His inferiors reference him by the title "fordship." Then, there's his extremist philosophies. But perhaps most significantly, he consciously - throughout the novel, he continuously demonstrates himself as possibly the most anthropologically versed person in the entire world - likens himself to Jesus through his perversion of the biblical quote "Suffer [the] little children."
- It's probable his first name refers to Mustapha Kemal Ataturk, the founder of Turkey who modernized and westernized it, or that it's meant as a bilingual pun: Mustapha Mond — "Must-have" "the World".
- Emperor Scientist: At first he was a scientific and realized that they were actually just following a recipe instead of actual research and observation. He was then given the choice between the exile or being in charge, guess what he took?
- Ignorant of Their Own Ignorance: The only member of the society shown to avert this. Unlike Marx and Watson who thinks they just pierced a mystery of how their society is ignorant or the brainwashed members who don't even see how much out of the loop they are, Mond knows exactly why they are ignorant, since the society chose to be dumb and he is more than happy to ignore what he is missing if it means continuous bliss for the whole world (and the title of World Controller sweetened the deal for him). He is here to show how the World decided to be that way.
- Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: As one of the World Controller he can read forbidden books and enjoy more spiritually rich hobbies that gets Marx in trouble. The only rules he follows is that he can't share it.
- Utopia Justifies the Means: A firm believer in this, in contrast to John. Whether he's right or not is the driving question of the novel.
- Villains Never Lie: Well, as much as he can really be considered a villain, but he definitely makes a point of always telling the truth even when it's painful or potentially hazardous.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: He actually considers the dystopia worth it since it's painless compared to the alternative.
- Wicked Cultured: He quotes Shakespeare at the Savage, who expresses surprise that someone else knows the author.
Director Thomas "Thomakin"
- I Just Want to Be Normal: He was...until his long lost son came to visit. He is also one of the few citizens who acknowledge Alphas are too smart to act like man-children but believes it's their duty to avoid conflict.
- Luke, You Are My Father: He is the Savage's father.
- Past Experience Nightmare: In an unguarded moment, he tells Bernard that he still has nightmares about Linda's disappearance.
- Vague Age: Intentionally. It helps hiding his relationship with John.
- The Alcoholic: She copes with a lack of access to soma by drinking alcohol excessively, and falls right off the addiction barrel again the second she's back in civilized lands.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Too bad she has a child, which is why she didn't (read: couldn't) return to London.
- I Was Quite a Looker: Just like everyone else, she was beautiful, but the tough life in the reservation ruined her looks.
- Younger Than They Look: The narration states she's only 44 years old but also describes her as having the appearance of somebody much older. Life on the savage reservation will do that to you.