The most important part of the book is the last few chapters. Mond, the Savage, Bernard and Helmholtz have an argument over the moralities of the distopia they've had the privilege to live in. Eventually Bernard and Helmholtz leave, and in haste by Bernard's worry that he may be taken out of their little distopia to Iceland, an island where freethinkers are allowed to live, and where they don't cause trouble on the mainlands.
On the American continent, a leper land, and a resort holding all of those natives, the "Savages" (may we extol Huxley's early 20th century word choice) - those who have refused to live in the distopic fantasy world where everyone looks as generically perfect as possible, and they look like disgusting, animalistic demons (though there is no real religion in this society).
In the North American continent, Bernard and his girlfriend - through some odd mishap - meet a young savage boy, who they later call Mr. Savage. As it would turn out, the boy is the son of high official's ex who in a previous expedition to the continent was left there to fend for herself because of the unwanted pregnancy.
Bernard brought the child back, along with the deserted mother, to hold them as evidence that the official - who had earlier threatened to send him to Iceland, a much-hated place for those who don't know what it really is - committed a crime, and would hopefully have him fired before he was sent away.
The mother got sick and was sent to a health institution to die. Young Mr. Savage went out to find her. When he got there, he found her in a bed where she was being left to die - in all her savageness. He became infuriated and tried to start riots against the state for the mindset they had put their people in (read the first few chapters).
Eventually all of the main figures still living were sent to see one Mustapha Mund, a Controller for the region, one who keeps things in order, on the path of the distopic intention. Mustapha Mund offers arguments for why the world is the way it is. The ultimate intention of the state, he would propose, is to make sure that everyone is happy. They regulate just the correct number of hours to work each day, and who works where and why, and why only certain things can be let out into the culture. The Savage offers his argument for the Right to Unhappiness. The savage leaves to wander about the countryside in search of his... whatever.
And in the end of the book, the Savage hangs himself. He felt contaminated by the unending sight of peacefulness, of sheer gaiety, amongst the rolling hills of Britten where he roamed, and the people who lived there; he detested the utter and complete control of life, the lack of struggle; he felt so sickened by this progressed settlement in human history – he of course living in the old ways to begin with – that he had to make his own struggle, an unnecessary struggle, an artificial struggle, by which he could work and give an “individual” meaning to his life, whatever that might be. He lived hence to break away from what is wholly civilized – the naturally social etiquette of nature, that is, the natural progression of those fully conscious subjects in nature – to his own self-indulgent, self-admonished, lifeless and greedy existence which has no purpose in accordance of the structure of civilization as such, of the new humanity. He was inhumane in his practices hence.
Mr. Savage accepted the notion that he had a right to all the pleasures and pains capable of a creature; he, in his irrational masque, held that it is better to suffer the old romanticisms of human development than to take in with a deep breath that there is no need for struggle when the modern capabilities of man negate them (let us have sympahty for the devil). The savage killed himself because he couldn’t handle his own angst; as a matter of fact, he reveled over it – he created it. Savage couldn’t have imagined – what in his lack of imagination, he could hardly see the difference from a mountain and the things that grew upon it – a nobler ending than death; he admired such tragedies and dramas. He read Shakespeare (who is banned in the distopia), that old philosopher, and found in him the right to kill himself, because that is what the great nobles of old did.
He, in the end, held that it is a right of man to stay as primitive as he may want, notwithstanding the fact that he was indeed primitive, as that was his inheritance. Nevertheless, as a primitive man, he found it his duty, and right aforesaid, to stay old, to stay wrinkled and broken, and to, in the end, justify such actions as to diminish the joyous capacities of the modern age.
It can only be thought that if there were more like him, indeed enough to hold a majority to alter the rule of civilization in such ways as to hold onto the old ways, or resolve back to them – from what frustration as there are none in the manufactured way of life hitherto – destruction would henceforth be inevitable; they would destroy themselves in the search for the superfluous struggle by which they could all place “meanings” to their respective lives. What an abomination to lead with such pitiful intentions! Indeed, what an embarrassing belief to live for! However, the civilization, dystopia as it is, continued in its gleeful yet factory-like setting: everybody stayed happy; everybody stayed in decent health; they were all sexually satisfied – every human need was met, and this thanks to the ability to overcome the standing of all “high-art” which came before: to overcome unnecessary, unproductive, destructive, emotions; to overcome the smoldering of irrational living – which the Savage loved, or rather, was confused by.
There is nothing more important than happiness; that sentiment reaches to the heart of every human. It is on their minds from the birth of childhood friendships to the discovery of their romances, through the process of becoming and the satisfaction of a self-imposed purpose – from a great overture to yet a final repose. But this again has such little significance if it has no part in the sustaining of the civilization that birthed them in such “perfect” ways, or offers them such things that they may live in good health and stay as happy as can be possible. Man needs to get over its subjected nausea. But – laugh at it sorrowfully – may we renounce our humanity; that is, renounce our human greatness: our stupidity, our rigidity, our sarcasm, our great embarrassment – in the process.
"Live slow, die eventually, leave an indifferently attractive corpse. That's my motto." - David Mitchell
"By a sarcasm of law and phrase they were freemen." - Mark Twain