John "the Savage"
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

John "the Savage"

Brave New World

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About Him

Grew Up... ostracized. Growing up on a Native American reservation, John was discriminated against because of his skin color. Unloved and neglected, John's only solace as a child was the book his mother gives him: a copy of the complete works of Shakespeare.

Living... with his mother, Linda, on the outskirts of society. When the dying Linda decides to return to London for the last years of her life, John is all too eager to follow.

Visiting... London, as it exists in 2540 AD. Even for someone who hasn't grown up as isolated as John, it's a surreal scene. The population is divided into different intellectual castes at birth, Shakespeare and the Bible are banned, sex is as casual as eating, and hallucinogenic drugs called "soma" are used to keep the population sedated and happy.

Profession... unintentional tourist attraction. As someone from one of the 'primitive' Reservations, John becomes an instant object of curiosity in London, where he is dubbed "the Savage." The attention comes with benefits – John is toasted by society and receives the best of everything while in London – but he quickly becomes disillusioned with the city's hedonism.

Interests... literature, morality, and his mother's happiness. Unfortunately for John, his mother is deeply sick – and now that she's back in London, she’s using liberal doses of soma to help with her pain.

Relationship Status... infatuated with Lenina Crowne, a pretty if airheaded girl. However, John's morals mean that while he's attracted to Lenina, he's disgusted by her sexual freedom, calling her an "impudent strumpet" for her casual attitude towards sex.

Challenge... finding a place for himself. Though John is initially enthusiastic about his "brave new world," he soon rejects his new society as superficial and corrupt. As he tells Bernard, the man who brought him to London: "I'd rather be unhappy than have the sort of false, lying happiness you were having here."

Personality... poetic, naive, and moralistic. Growing up on Othello and Hamlet, John's worldview and morality is a decidedly 17th-century one. London, however, is stubbornly stuck in the 26th century, where John's Shakespearean prudery and seriousness cause him just as much grief as his race did on the Reservation.  He says, “I don't want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin."

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