During Bernard’s trip, John breaks into the Rest House, thinking that Bernard and Lenina have left for London without him. Inside, John discovers Lenina’s suitcase and looks through her clothes — including her zippicamiknicks.
When John finds Lenina fast asleep, he thinks of Shakespeare’s Juliet. He reaches out to touch her — perhaps even to unzip her zippypajamas with a single pull — but stops himself, thinking: “Detestable thought!”
John retreats when he hears the humming of Bernard’s returning helicopter.
In this very short chapter, Huxley presents two of his principal characters — Bernard and John — in unexpected, exciting situations of power. The quick view of each character affords the reader an opportunity to compare the men in similar circumstances. Predictably, Bernard proves himself to be a shameless opportunist, while John reveals the complex, mixed feelings of his idealism.
Looking forward to revenging himself on the D.H.C. by bringing Linda and their son back to London, Bernard positively beams with triumph, making his arrangements with masterly briskness and efficiency. His patronizing tone and his expectations of deference contrast sharply with his usual hesitancy. Here Huxley hints that Bernard — with power already gone to his head — will become an unbearable phony, destined ultimately for a great fall.
John’s visit to the sleeping, soma-tized Lenina contrasts with Bernard’s scene in tone. The mood here is a child-like wonder as John explores Lenina’s clothes and cosmetics and is ecstatically bathed in her scent. John’s approach to the bed where Lenina lies continues the mood of wonder and enchantment. Speaking in Shakespeare’s poetry, looking upon her with awe and longing, John seems a character in a fairy tale — a figure in an ideal landscape.
John’s hesitancy to pull at Lenina’s zipper seems chivalrous in this context, an expression of respect and poetic delicacy. Still, the scene recalls John’s early conditioning against sex and the possibility that John is not merely restrained but repressed in sexual matters. With John’s sudden suppression of sexual curiosity, Huxley deliberately breaks the romantic mood, introducing the jarring, comic image of his character shaking his head “with the gesture of a dog shaking its ears as it emerges from the water.” John is not an ideal knight, Huxley points out, but a young man raised as an outsider in the harsh conditions of Malpais and haphazardly educated by the example of his displaced mother, the legends of the elders, and the poetry of Shakespeare. Nothing in Malpais or London will ever be simple to such a complex, conflicted character.
agaves plants of the agave family, such as the century plant.
zippicamiknicks Huxley’s word for one-piece underwear for women.