Brave New World; no Alpha females or Beta males?

So I just finished rereading Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and one big thing struck me. Every Alpha character is male and every Beta character is female. Does this mean that all Alphas are male and al Betas are female? It would explain things like why Alphas and Betas are the only castes that socialize together (constantly). I always thought it was simply because of limited numbers compared to the lower castes, but it would also make sense if they’re just really a single caste with the females subordinate to the males. This also means that Beta eggs are fertilized with Alpha sperm; meaning that Linda being impregnated by Thomakin is actually very similar, but random & uncontrolled, to reproduction in the World State. This would also make John the Savage a de facto Alpha, just without any conditioning. Any thoughts?

Just happened to scan through the book the other day, and I recalled this from Chapter 1 (in the Embryo Store):They were passing Metre 320 on Rack 11. A young Beta-Minus mechanic was busy with screw-driver and spanner on the blood-surrogate pump of a passing bottle. The hum of the electric motor deepened by fractions of a tone as he turned the nuts. Down, down … A final twist, a glance at the revolution counter, and he was done. He moved two paces down the line and began the same process on the next pump.On the surface, it would seem like a job more appropriate for a Gamma, but perhaps there isn’t much difference (other than social conditioning) between a Gamma and a Beta-Minus.

There is also a reference to Henry and Lenina flying over “(T)wo thousand Beta-Minus mixed doubles” playing Riemann-surface tennis, further implying that there are Betas of both (or all three) sexes. The issue of Alpha females, however, seems open. It may indeed be that since Aplhas are the high muckety-mucks in the system, they are all male; but Huxley doesn’t indicate yea or may.

(Actually, there is one semi-glaring error in the passage where Henry and Lenina are on their way to play Obstacle Golf. At one point Lenina comments that she’s glad she’s not a Gamma, implying that either she’s socially confused — unlikely — or she’s some other caste masquerading as a Gamma. Is there a Delta Underground?)

Is it ever explicitly said that Lenina is a Gamma? I always thought she was a Beta, though I don’t know that her caste is directly told to the reader.

In Chapter 3 she’s explicitly described as dressed in green, the Gamma colo(u)r (“Her jacket was made of bottle green acetate cloth with green viscose fur at the cuffs and collar”). Also, her lockermate Fanny has the same surname — Crowne — which at least implies that they’re both part of a Bokanovsky group, though not the same one.

I could have sworn Lenina was a Beta (she was depicted as a Beta-plus when played by Marcia Strassman in the 1980 film adaptation) but I just searched the text and can’t find a specific description, and OttaDeFe’s cited reference to her green outfit is clear enough.

Uh-oh, Chapter 4:

“My word,” said Lenina, “I’m glad I’m not a Gamma.”

Several possibilities:[ul]
[li]A continuity error on Huxley’s part;[/li][li]Confusion on Lenina’s part;[/li][li]As mentioned on post #2, a nefarious plot by Lenina’s real caste that had her masquerading as a Gamma.[/li][/ul]I’ll leave it to you to determine which makes most sense.

Maybe the Betas are into cosplay.

Maybe some Gammas are dumb enough they don’t realise they’re Gammas

Maybe gammas can change colors.

Gamma gamma gamma gamma gamma chameleon.

You are a Very Bad Man

The shared surname is just a coincidences; it says so right in the text that there are only 10K surnames in use for a population of 2 billion people. It’s implied that everyone’s names are just assigned at random and surnames are still in use to reduce confusion. Lenina is clearly a Beta; she holds a similar job to Linda (a Beta), socializes with Alphas, talks about how glad she is not to be a Gamma (or even lower caste), and most importantly doesn’t have any twins. Only Alphas and Betas are genetically unique individuals; Gammas, Deltas, & Epsilons all get cloned into batches of several dozen. And it’s mentioned that as must as possible a single Bokanovsky group is assigned to the same plant; so if Lenina were lower caste there would be many other women looking exactly like her at the hatchery.

I think her wearing green is just a continuity error by Huxley, unless the upper castes are allowed to wear different colors if they choose (which seems very unlikely). Then again the Arch-Community-Songster, who is an Alpha, was mentioned as wearing a purple vestment instead of grey (or possibly purple over grey clothes). I picture the citizens of the World State (or at least the upper castes) having access to a variety of clothing given the emphasis on consumption, but always in different shades of their assigned caste color.

Given the social conditioning, I’d be surprised if there was a lot of taste-based rebellion. From chapter two, the Director of Hatcheries inspects a dormitory for Beta children and reviews the audio recording playing on repeat under their pillows as they sleep:

"Alpha children wear grey. They work much harder than we do, because they’re so frightfully clever. I’m really awfully glad I’m a Beta, because I don’t work so hard. And then we are much better than the Gammas and Deltas. Gammas are stupid. They all wear green, and Delta children wear khaki. Oh no, I don’t want to play with Delta children. And Epsilons are still worse. They’re too stupid to be able [to read or write. Besides they wear black, which is such a beastly colour. I’m so glad I’m a Beta.]”

I can only find one reference to the Beta colour, in chapter four: “Mulberry-coloured Beta-Minuses came and went among the crowd”. If Huxley described Lenina wearing green, I also suspect a continuity error.