I was excited to learn that we would be studying Brave New World. Because I had enjoyed 1984, I was looking forward to reading the book before this year even started (in fact, it was my first literature analysis).
The first chapter does a very good job of setting up the general mood of the story, even if it does seem a bit confusing at first. It is instantly evident that Huxley writes of an ambiguously future society (zeitgeist!). Besides this there is some early characterization of the population's general attitude. Most importantly, the students are portrayed more or less blindly copying down the information told to them. The adults take a distinctly mechanistic approach to life. Everything is reduced to the numbers of a highly refined scientific process. The brief glimpse of the caste system is perhaps the most important introduction of the chapter. Knowing how the story develops (I'll admit, I didn't fully reread the chapter, I just skimmed) is interesting. Compared to the rest of the story, the first chapter is pretty impersonal. Most likely this is just because Huxley is establishing the setting.