CW Spoilers and TW cultural references to Native Americans, please read with care.
Linda. Where to begin. Her life wasn’t so typical, but in Brave New World, we meet her in two different ways. She started out as a beta plus, which is a step below an alpha plus, and then, we see her as the author was meant to see her. Let’s compare how Linda’s life transformed from book to screen.
In the book, Linda was at first the typical healthy English girl, much like what Lenina was. Linda, a Beta Plus who worked in the fertilizing room, however strong she appeared to be, was left behind in transit when she and the then younger DHC, Tomakin he was called in the book, went to the Savage reservation. In the book, the Savage Reservation was a key negative connotation for Native American reservation. It was probably situated in the Tribal lands in New Mexico. Let’s just refer to the book’s version of it not as a “Savage” place, but as Malpais. That’s what John called it, and for future reference, John is Linda and Tomakin’s child. Back to Linda.
So anyway, Linda was left behind because she fell and hit her head, and some hunters from Malpais found her on the floor and brought her to the lands. Linda didn’t even know she was pregnant at the time, and all girls who are unsterilized in the Brave New World must do what is called “Malthusian Drill.” The numbers, Linda says, go by one, two, and three and so on. Not much is told of how Malthusian drill actually works, and the contraceptive precautions are still on Lenina’s mind in the book after she’s done cavorting with Henry on the golf course, at the cabaret, and then in his room of course. What we learn from Linda is astounding. She had soma before, but when she was forced to live among the Natives in the book, she found herself in a culture shock. One, she was not supposed to just have any man she wanted. People hated her, hated her son John, and it was evident throughout Linda’s future life in the land if Malpais. The Natives sang songs about Linda, not very reverent songs, and the little boys frequently shoved John away, and then, as I wrote prior to this post, the worst of it was when John wanted to do a manhood ceremony among the boys. Now he was able to understand Linda’s world too, but John had some Native American upbringing among the boys and the men of the Pueblo. They taught John about the spiritual practice of the Native American peoples of the pueblo, and he never said the word Ford but said Oh my God instead. John had a lot of respect for the eagle god Pookong, and the son of the One True God, the Jesus everybody complains about in real life. John one day said he wanted to be crucified. If this isn’t a sad person, I don’t know what is.
While John is growing up, he sees his mother, Linda, drunk on the floor or having a lot of sex with Pope, a young man she’s attracted to. Pope brings Linda lots of mescal, which is very strong stuff, but let’s compare this quick to the show. Linda doesn’t drink mescal in the show, instead it’s moonshine.
The most confusing thing about Linda is how she dies. In the show, she’s pictured dead on the marble slab. In the book, Linda’s life among the Natives is brought to a close when Bernard and Lenina rescue both her and her son John. One needs to have at least one reckoning with John and Tomakin, the DHC. Now, Linda’s life in the book and Linda’s life in the show are a bit different. Let’s look at Linda’s on screen appearance.
First of all, Linda is a much the same drunk Beta plus who can’t put up with being happy without drugs. Linda and John are busy trying to get Bernard Marx healed up from a wound he receives at the theater park. Like I said in the previous post, the Native land of Malpais is replaced in the show with a simple theme park, the Savage lands. It’s not about a tribe, but the rebels are hard to tame, according to the all uppity happy Eurocentric New London. Let’s also say that Linda and John were different, and John didn’t share his life story much in Episode 3. The big thing is that John was not greeted by Mustapha Mond, who by the way, in the show was a woman. Why?????? I’m not trying to be sexist here, but if you are going to follow the source material, shouldn’t Mustapha be male? And intimidating? I get that we need progress in the 26th century, but do we want to follow the source material or go our deviant separate way from it?
We deviate a lot when John and Linda are confronted with Madison, the pregnant bride from the theater, and she goes in and says she’s going to kill teh outsiders, Linda, and John. Madison meets her end, which is not saying much of Kiakime, the Native girl John likes in the book. Kothlu doesn’t even speak to John in the book, and Linda tries to understand the whole point of weddings, but then is interrupted by John running away from the wedding procession. The manhood ceremony being the most hurtful thing John is experiencing, he is called the “son of the she-dog.” The Natives’ references to Linda as a she-dog are poignant, but extremely hurtful given Linda’s different culture and upbringing and more importantly, her conditioning.
Linda dies in the book lying comfortably in the bed, the Soma at her side, in the Park Lane Hospital of the Dying, but we don’t see this in the show. Linda is sitting on a morgue slab, the victim of something that went wrong in the rocket, and we don’t know how Linda died … yet. However, John goes mad, and as the happy people of New London will tell you, John doesn’t know how to cope with Linda’s death. This is natural for humans, but with death conditioning, which to me is gross and unnatural, you have tots and little tykes, kids rather, going to a hospital of the dying in the locale and having to eat treats every time someone dies. When Linda died in the book, the young Delta boys in the hospital got eclairs. The boys also got chocolate cream, and this is supposed to make them cope with death? I don’t see that as anything close to natural.
In the show, there is also another plot element. The rebels tell the outsiders, Linda and John among them, that “We are a free people.” They say they’re sick and tired of being fenced in and judged for the amusement of the Indra users, the New Londoners. They’re tired of it. So what will happen next? Stay tuned, and I will write more.
Note that I do like the idea of Mustapha Mond being a woman, but why?????? Why did they have to choose a woman to play the part of a world controller? In the source material, there is quite a bit of gender misinformation, but I see where this is going. The progress to a woman ruling the world is getting stronger every day, and so should be acknowledged in the show. However, do we want to try and reenact Huxley and his source material? Let’s see when I watch next, and yes, I’ll be writing more reviews in the coming days about a future episode or two, but yeah. LEt’s see what the future holds for John, Lenina, and Bernard.