Brave New World


Chapter 4


Lenina encounters Bernard in an elevator full of their coworkers. When she publicly accepts his invitation to the Savage Reservation, Bernard becomes flustered and suggests that they talk about it some other time, in private. Lenina is confused by Bernard’s strange desire for privacy. The elevator deposits them on the roof of the building, where Lenina meets Henry Foster to go off on a date with him in his helicopter. Benito Hoover, a minor character, notices that Bernard looks unhappy and offers him some soma, which Bernard refuses.

From the helicopter, Henry and Lenina look down on their world in complete happiness. A description of the futuristic London follows, ending with their arrival at the Obstacle Golf course. Bernard, meanwhile, orders a pair of Delta-Minus attendants to bring his helicopter around. His feelings of inadequacy are clear in his reflection that the attendants are not moving quickly enough because they do not respect him. Bernard thinks to himself how envious he is of people like Henry Foster and Benito Hoover because they are perfectly comfortable in their caste. Because Bernard is unusually short for his caste, and the lower castes are conditioned to equate greater height with higher status, he overcompensates by barking his orders rudely.

Bernard flies to the Propaganda House to meet with his friend, Helmholtz Watson. Helmholtz is a professor at the College of Emotional Engineering, and is described as a remarkably attractive, intelligent and talented man who receives great attention from women. The narrator tells us that “a mental excess had produced in Helmholtz Watson effects very similar to those which, in Bernard Marx, were the result of a physical defect,” meaning that both men feel isolated from their fellows, but for different reasons. The result of this sense of isolation is that both men, unlike the other members of their society, consider themselves individuals. They often meet to discuss their dissatisfaction with the world in which they live. Their conversation...

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