Oh wow. Where do I begin with my review? I'm always amazed at how current a book written in 1931 can be so current and readable nearly a century later in 2018.
The Brave New World is set in a future some centuries away where happiness is society's key. Religion, art, science and truth have been sacrificed to archive global sustainable happiness.
People are engineered from embryo though constant tweaking at the fertilisation process and growth, then though as children conditioned using Pavlovian techniques: you read a book, you get zapped - aged 18 months. Aged 6 the children engage in “erotic play”. Sleep hypnosis with rhymes that the individuals will live inside society with. Each individual is predestined for a class in society: alphas, betas, down to the “epsilon semi-morons” - button pushers.
All seemingly pretty grotesque, but much later in the book, the benefits of this new world are argued, and it's a fairly convincing argument. Everything is for the sake of happiness.
Ignorance is bliss. The less truth there is to be sought, the more content you are with your reality. And thus, a stable, sustainable, healthy society.
It seems as through there's three protagonist with increasing complexity to break the orthodox rules of the New World.
Lenina allows herself to romanticise being with one person, and feeling love, but this is surface-deep and she's still very much a slave to her conditioning and unable to see beyond these walls.
Bernard Marx, an Alpha plus who appears visibly as a Delta, with nasty rumours that alcohol had been slipped into his fertilisation process. He is able to think and speak outside of his orthodox conditioning but when it comes to acting, he falls short, and in fact proves himself more of a coward (or in fact probably as most would act: though inaction).
John (the) Savage is different. He has a mother. He's learnt of God, learned to read and reads Shakespeare. He was born an outcast in The Old World (The Savage Reserve), and brought into the New World when Bernard and Lenina stumble upon him and his mother (originally from the new world but became injured and lost in the reservation some 20 years prior).
John is the only one who questions and tries to change the new world that he now lives, and, obviously fails. The new world is centuries in the making.
John is relatable because he comes from our time. And this is why he's a man out of time.
There's nothing he can do to change society in an impactful way, and even if he did, it would be at the sacrifice of happiness of others.
It's almost an inevitability that he goes mad. That he doesn't survive this brave new world. He can't. He can't escape it, and so, in the end, like any good Shakespeare tragedy, he tries and fails to extract himself from society, as it's impossible, in a rage of madness, goes on to kill the woman he loves, and then himself.
An amazing, and maddening tale. Wow.