All of the Alpha characters I can think of--Bernard, Helmholtz, Mustapha Mond, the DHC, Henry Foster--are men. And none of the female characters seem to be Alphas. Lenina is probably a Beta. Linda is stated to be a Beta-Minus. Fanny Crowne is probably also a Beta or Beta-Minus since she works in the Fertilizing Room and it seems like all the technicians at the Hatchery are Betas (Linda worked in the Bottling Room).

There's some minor circumstantial evidence against the existence of female Alphas; at the beginning of Chapter 4 it says "The lift was crowded with men from the Alpha Changing Rooms", as if the Alpha Changing Rooms are all-male. But the door Lenina opens towards the start of Chapter 3 just says "Girls' Dressing-Room", not "Beta Girls' Dressing-Room". I'm not entirely convinced by this, though.

Do we know if female Alphas exist? Can we infer their existence or non-existence from evidence in the book?

  • 1
    I don't have the book on hand to check, but IIRC one stated purpose of the "solidarity" thing is to make those participating be as "one", and I have a hard time believing Alphas wanting to be "one" with non-Alphas.
    – muru
    Apr 5, 2018 at 6:38
  • 3
    @muru That makes sense. By that same logic, I thought the enforced solidarity community sing we see Bernard go to was Alphas-only. There are women there, so those would be female Alphas. When I read that scene again, though, it didn't look like it actually said that, so those women could have been Betas. It's interesting that there seems to be plenty of fraternization between Alphas and Betas, but none with the lower castes that we see.
    – Torisuda
    Apr 5, 2018 at 6:46
  • The lack of female Alpha characters in the novel may be a way to portray sexism in the society. Much has been written about this by critics: example one, example two.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Apr 5, 2018 at 10:48
  • @Randal'Thor Thanks for the links. That was something I was trying to get at with this question--when I first started reading the book, I thought the World State would value caste above things like race or sex. After all, they specifically engineer castes to have certain traits. Then I started to notice how Mad Men-esque the Hatchery is: the male Alphas have all the positions of prestige and use the women, who are all Betas and work as technicians and assistants, as a free pool of sexual partners. It also felt like every black person we hear about is an Epsilon or Delta.
    – Torisuda
    Apr 5, 2018 at 19:16
  • I have to say I think both of the writers you linked sell Huxley a bit short, though. There are some small hints that Lenina isn't as well conditioned as we think, that she might be feeling a version of the same discontent that Bernard is.
    – Torisuda
    Apr 5, 2018 at 19:16


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