Sunday, September 11, 2011

Brave New World: Rocks and Bones and Lonely People

It’s late; too late to be up when school is starting in a few days, but I want to savor my last moments of leisure.

Today I reread a passage I underlined earlier in Brave New World, and I thought I’d write some thoughts on it.
 On page 138 of my edition:
“He was all alone. All alone, outside the pueblo, on the bare plain of the mesa. The rock was like bleached bones in the moonlight. Down in the valley, the coyotes were howling at the moon. The bruises hurt him, the cuts still bleeding; but it was not for pain that he sobbed; it was because he was all alone, because he had been driven out, alone, into this skeleton world of rocks and moonlight.”

Did you read it? Good.  Now read it again. Let the words wrap around your mind, and let your tongue wrap around the words. There’s poetry in this, a genius musicality; strip it of its meaning and the cadence is still there. In the punctuation, the repetition, the sound of syllables.

Did you read it five more times? Did you write it down? Good.
This passage is so achingly sad, every word biting into me with an icy rawness. What’s worse, Huxley writes with an otherworldly, surreal voice, etching eeriness into the mundane. The rock isn’t white or light in color, it’s bleached bones in the moonlight. John’s standing on a skeleton of a world, a world that’s missing all the fleshy parts, the pieces that really matter. A globe of bone. A hollow, skeletal place where people who are different – people like John and Bernard – are left alone on the mesa in the moonlight, sobbing with no one to hear.

And then, half a page later...
Alone, always alone,” the young man was saying.

The words awoke a plaintive echo in Bernard’s mind. Alone, alone… “So am I,” he said. … “Terribly alone. … You see,” he said, mumbling and with averted eyes. “I’m rather different from most people, I suppose. …”

“Yes, that’s just it.” The young man nodded. “If one’s different, one’s bound to be lonely.”
    Writers are infamous for their solitude, but in many ways they reach out more than the most social butterflies. Aldous Huxley’s work has been immortalized, and because of that I’m reading his book, and connecting with his deepest, most profound thoughts on loneliness, 80 years after he recorded them. Some writers are reclusive, but the very act of writing is one of the best ways we have to connect with people. Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, a writer or a door-to-door salesperson, you want to form connections with people just as much as…everyone else.
 That's important to keep in mind. Don't push away those who don't seem like you. Because in the end, the otherness is an imagined thing, and it matters little - no, it matters not at all. What matters is that we don't put people on the mesa. When one puts another on the mesa, so to speak, they're no better than the passive citizens of the World State, consuming soma and revolving endlessly around shallow occupations, ignoring the humanity within them, within all of us. It's a primitive, pre-evolutionary, horrible thing to do, and yet we do it all the time. We put ourselves on mesas; we push others there.

  Until next time, happy reading – and if you’d like, leave a comment so that I don’t find myself on a blogspot mesa, sobbing to a virtual moon. :)

     Also: Thank you to everyone who has signed up for my giveaway! I had this fear that no one would, and I’d be left looking like a dweeb on the internet, but I’m very pleased to be getting all of your comments. I’m taking you book suggestions seriously too. Thank you very much, and I’ll announce the winner on Wednesday!


  1. New Follower here :) Look forward to reading more!

    Feel free to drop in and say hi!

  2. So enjoying your thoughts about your reading. I may just have to reread Brave New World - it has been a very long time.

    I’ve just listed you as a recipient of the Versatile Blogger Award. You can find the details about this award on this post on my blog:

  3. Thanks suebe! That's very nice of you. :)