The future lies in the past, is definitely the theme and the main act, whether it is real or fictitious. It is always true that, a person’s positive future is dependent on his/her past, very similar to the saying that “You sow in tears before you reap joy”. It is believed that an individual has to go through pain and labour to be able to achieve a reward later. The story by R.
Wagamese’s Medicine Walk and A.Huxley’s Brave New World both portray the same idea of better or worse future actually lies in the past of an individual. The Director (Tomakin) of Brave New World and Eldon Starlight of Medicine Walk both had a deserted family in the past and their relationship with the family has affected their future in the novels.
In both the stories, the father of the deserted family meets his son, and they go through many positive and negative situations and learn about each other’s weaknesses and strengths. This relationship eventually leads to their tragic or comforting future. In both novels the mother was the turning point because of their deaths, leaving their children in isolation, and wreaking havoc on their former and current romantic partners.
In both Brave New World and Medicine Walk, the mothers play an extremely important role. In Brave New World, Linda, the mother of John, serves as his only friend on the savage reservation, seeing as no one wants to associate with him because he is white and his mother is considered a whore. She taught John how to spell and read and gave him his first book. It was her romantic partner (Pope) who gave him The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, which he quotes throughout the book. Just as Linda had a profound effect on John when she was alive, her death also affected him greatly. One example of how she affected John and the rest of the story is the riot that broke out afterward.
After Linda died, John reflected on her death and decided that Linda’s death would not be in vain. He decided that other people in the society could be saved from slavery. He spoke to a crowd of delta workers but realizing they did not want freedom, decided to make them free whether they wanted to be or not. He pushed open a window and “began to throw the little pill-boxes of soma tablets in handfuls out into the area” (Huxley, 187). The delta workers became angry and when a fight broke out, the police arrested Bernard Marx, John and Helmholtz (Bernard’s friend). They were then taken to the world controller’s office where Bernard and Helmholtz were exiled to a small island. The riot and the exile would not have occurred if John had not been motivated by Linda’s death to save everyone in society by throwing away their soma rations.
This also resulted in Helmholtz’s happiness because he was finally able to write and think freely on an island with free minded people. On the other hand, in Medicine Walk, Angie Pratt is the mother of Franklin Starlight. She died while giving birth to Franklin because Franklin’s father, Eldon, could not get her to doctors in time. Eldon is an alcoholic with a very tragic past. When Angie died, Eldon gave their son to her old romantic partner, Bunky. Bunky and Angie had broken up because Angie loved Eldon. Eldon took Franklin to see Bunky and at first Bunky did not want to.
However, he reluctantly accepted the baby. He told Eldon that she “brung him to life” (Wagamese, 230) and “I got bigger on accounta’ her” (Wagamese, 230). If Angie did not die while giving birth, Franklin Starlight could have been raised in a two parent household. He could have had a loving mother and would not have grown up with such anger and hatred towards his father. Eldon would have drank less because while Angie was alive he was drinking in secret. The deaths of the mothers in Brave New World and Medicine Walk were also turning points in the stories because they caused the death of others. In Brave New World, Linda was John’s closest friend. She took care of him in his childhood and taught him how to read.
She was the only one who would even associate with him. Therefore, it makes sense that after her death, he would start to feel alone. His only other friends were Bernard Marx and Helmholtz Watson. They were both exiled after the riot that ensued after John threw soma rations out of a window (which was something else that was caused by her death).
With all of his friends gone, John ran away to lighthouse to avoid civilized life and purify himself. One day, he thought about Lenina and to punish himself, “in a frenzy, he ran back to the house, seized it, whirled it. The knotted cords bit into his flesh.” (Huxley, 223). John picked a whip and began punishing himself for what he considered sinful thoughts. If Linda had been there, she could have talked him out of it. If Bernard or Helmholtz had been there, they could have talked to him to calm him down.
However, they could not be there because they were exiled (all due to Linda’s death). On the other hand in Medicine Walk, Angie Pratt passed away giving birth to Franklin because Franklin’s father, Eldon, could not get her to the hospital in time to save her. For many years, Franklin did not know how his mother passed away because he was sent to a foster home after his father, Eldon, left his son, Franklin, to an old man named Bunky. When Franklin turned 7 years old, he finds out that the old man is not his biological father, it’s Eldon.
Later Franklin meets his biological father and they go on a walk where Eldon tells him how ill he is regarding his life struggles about how his mother passed away when he was born and he had to leave Franklin all alone due to war and chaos in the country. Eldon’s illness was indirectly caused by Angie’s death. When she was alive, Eldon only drank alcohol through “furtive gulping” (Wagamese 221), which means that he drank a little bit. After her death, Eldon relapsed into his alcohol addiction to deal with her death, which ultimately led to his death due to liver failure. If Angie remained alive, it would have limited his ability to drink, possibly making him live a longer life.