For the researched closed reading, I choose the pages 306-313 which is the scene in which Will Farnaby refuses Murugan and the Rani, and goes with Mary Sarojini to be with the dying Lakshmi. This is a pivotal moment for Farnaby because he abandons his original mission and chooses a course, while extremely painful, that conforms to the Palanese way of life.
In my critical argument, I stated that Huxley wrote this book with the intent to demonstrate that humanity will rise to the expectation society sets for them. Within the selected pages, it clearly demonstrates this when Farnaby abandons the ruler of Pala, the most important person for his job, to be with a dying man. The Palanese way of life emphasizes love, peace and being present. Choosing Lakshmi shows love and respect for life and clearly demonstrates where his priorities are.
Huxley talked about the Island, and in 1962, he stated in an interview, “I want to show how humanity can make the best of both Eastern and Western worlds” (Beauchamp 59). While he is talking about two types of worlds, the emphasis is on what humanity can do. In another statement about the Island he said, “It’s a kind of fantasy, a reverse Brave New World, about a society in which real efforts are made to realize human potentialities,” which clearly shows his intentions to shed light on what humanity can do if pushed (Watt 149). Farnaby pushed himself with the help of society’s expectations and Mary. With the constant reminder to “pay attention” and “be present”, curtesy of the birds, and Mary’s persistence in making him face his demons, Farnaby changed and became a better human (Huxley 12). The author even concluded that he “becomes a disciple of the Palanese system of values” (Matter 149).
Farnaby finds himself in his exploitation when he has “an epiphany that discredits the world he has come from and reveals the purity of the Palanese way of living—according to the principles that will bring the greatest good for the greatest number of people” (Mughal). Pala’s society has strong emphasis in improving humanity. “Huxley’s vision of the perfect world is dyed in mystical colours. It is his search for salvation” (Pothen, Roy, Sunita 52). While Huxley was searching for his salvation, Will Farnaby was unknowingly doing the same.
In the selected pages, Farnaby has an internal conflict of doing the right thing and making his demons because of it. Farnaby does not question his decision to reject the Rani. Once he receives the letter, he sits, letting his anger build, and ignores the Rani’s son, Murugan. Murugan and Farnaby argue, resulting in Farnaby leaving with Mary to be with Lakshmi. But once they start making their way, Farnaby feels as though he is about to have a panic attack. The hospital where Lakshmi is reminds him of the hospital where is wife died. This brings flashbacks of his wife as well as guilt for cheating on her. Farnaby says, as he is being led by Mary, “Towards yet another manifestation of the Essential Horror and away from all hope of that blessed year of freedom which Joe Aldehyde had promised…” (Huxley 311). The “Essential Horror” he is referring to is death. Not only is he willingly going to a place that brings back painful memories but he is choosing a fate that will hurt his career.
Farnaby went to Pala for professional reasons, but in the end, Pala’s people and expectations changed him into a better man.