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Summary Chp. 18

This last chapter opens with John being very ill. He’s been poisoned by civilisation and also says "I ate my own wickedness." He explains to his friends that Indians ingest a mixture of mustard and warm water to purify themselves. Helmholtz, with Bernard who is now resigned to his sentence, are there to say good-bye. John wants to go with them but the Controller won’t let him as he wants to continue to experiment with the Savage’s entrance into civilisation.

With the equipment he has bought from the little money he is given for expenses and after choosing to live in an old lighthouse, John makes the long journey to the Puttenham and Elstead region. He spends a sleepless first night in which he spends hours praying to his guardian animal the eagle to earn his right to stay there, weak and faint from his self-inflicted pain. “Oh, forgive me! Oh, make me pure! Oh, help me to be good!” The view from the lighthouse to him is like “looking out on to the incarnation of a divine being.” He makes plans for a garden and decides there are animals in the vicinity to hunt for meat and so proceeds to make a bow and some arrows. He takes some solace in the tasks at hand.

Delta-minus workers driving home one day spot John whipping himself and being sick in the bushes. Word gets around that the Savage has moved to the country and reporters come to talk to him and get pictures, demanding to know why he would leave London. John reacts violently to the attention and an arrow shot at a helicopter keeps them at bay for a while.

He finds some peace again in the warm summer days, but it leads to daydreams of Lenina, her arms around his neck, and in a frenzy to self-mutilate again for his wicked wandering thoughts, he tries to conjure thoughts of his mother Linda, whom he had promised to remember. Juniper needles and the whip are not enough to banish lascivious thoughts of the strumpet Lenina and his sense of shame and badness.

Darwin Bonaparte, big-game photographer with the Feely Corporation and maker of "The Sperm Whale’s Love Life" Feely film, has set himself up in a hunting blind with his telescopic cameras and hidden microphones in order to spy on John. After twelve days he gets enough film footage to make "The Savage of Surrey" starring John.

With this new publicity, John's peace is to again come to a crashing halt with the onslaught of helicopter surveillance. With his thoughts turned inward to Linda and the immensities of death, trying to make sense of it all among lines from Shakespeare, there came upon him a great cloud of the locust-like helicopters. They swarmed around him and his lighthouse, laughing, taking pictures and throwing food at him. With their mob chants of “We – want – the whip” John yet again turns it on himself, flagellating himself for all the sins of the world. “Pain was a fascinating horror.” Tormented by the attention and frenziedly whipping himself to atonement, it was not enough for the jeering crowds singing "orgy porgy" and John ultimately ends up hanging himself. He wanted to change the world but the brave new world had overcome his hope for individuality and freedom.

Aldous Huxley