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Barron's Booknotes-Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
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CHAPTER SIX

Lenina and Bernard get together in this chapter, and travel from England to North America to visit a Savage Reservation that is not unlike today's Indian reservations. Huxley signals that he is bringing you a step closer to a climax by stressing that he is taking you and his characters to a place with none of the endless, emotionless pleasures of this Utopia, a place with no running perfume, no television, "no hot water even."

Lenina is troubled because she thinks Bernard is odd, and she wonders if what she once called "Nonsense" might be true-that he was given too much alcohol while he was still an embryo in a bottle. He's odd because he hates crowds and wants to be alone with her even when they aren't making love. He's odd because he'd rather take a walk in England's beautiful Lake District than fly to Amsterdam and see the women's heavyweight wrestling championship. He's odd because he wants to look at a stormy sea without listening to sugary music on the radio. Most of all he's odd because he is capable of wishing he was free rather than enslaved by his conditioning.

But Bernard doesn't do many of the things he wants to do. He's odd in his desires but not in his behavior. In the end he does just what a brave new worldling should do: he leaves the choppy waters of the English channel, flies Lenina home in his helicopter, takes four tablets of soma at a gulp, and goes to bed with her.

The next day Bernard finds that even he, like Henry Foster, can think of Lenina as a piece of meat. He hates that, but he realizes that she likes thinking of herself that way. That doesn't stop him from returning to his odd desires: he tells her he wants to feel something strongly, passionately. He wants to be an adult, to be capable of waiting for pleasure, instead of an infant who must have his pleasure right now.

Lenina is disturbed by this, so disturbed that she thinks, "Perhaps he had found her too plump, after all." In this throw-away irony about her body weight, Huxley makes her shallowness plainer than ever.


But she still wants to go with Bernard to America to see the Savage Reservation, something that few people are allowed to do.

In the second scene, Bernard goes to get his permit for the trip initialed. The Director stops acting like a caricature of a bureaucrat and tells Bernard how he had gone to the same Reservation as a young man, 25 years before. Bernard, for all his desire to be different, is disturbed because the Director is being different: he is talking about something that happened a long time ago, which is very bad manners in this society.

The Director is obviously remembering events that affected him very deeply. The girlfriend he had taken to the Reservation wandered off and got lost while he was asleep. Search parties never found her, and the Director assumed she had died in some kind of accident. He still dreams about it, which means that even he has more individual feelings than the system thinks is good for you.

The Director suddenly realizes that he has revealed more about himself than is good for his reputation. He stops reminiscing and attacks Bernard, who has been unlucky enough to be his unintended audience. He scolds Bernard for not being infantile in his emotional life, and threatens him with transfer to Iceland as a punishment.

His status as a rebel makes Bernard feel pleased with himself. But when he goes to see Helmholtz, he doesn't get the praise he expects. Helmholtz doesn't like the way Bernard switches back and forth from boasting to self-pity, the way he knows what to do only after he should have done it, when it's too late.

The third scene takes Bernard and Lenina across the ocean to Santa Fe and into the Reservation, which resembles a real-world Navajo or Hopi reservation. The Warden of the Reservation is a replica of the cartoon-like Director, pumping an endless flow of unwanted information. Bernard remembers that he left the Eau de Cologne tap in his bathroom open, pumping an expensive flow of unwanted scent. He calls Helmholtz long distance to ask him to go up and turn it off, and Helmholtz tells him that the Director has announced that he is indeed transferring Bernard to Iceland. Despite Bernard's distrust of soma, he takes four tablets to survive the plane trip into the Reservation. Huxley is setting the stage for the coming confrontation.

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Barron's Booknotes-Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
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