Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version | Barron's Booknotes
CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES
Lenina accosts Bernard in the elevator, which is full of Alphas. She expresses her desire to go with him to the Savage Reservation in New Mexico. Bernard is so overwhelmed by her forwardness that he can only stammer out a reply. He obviously does not wish to discuss personal matters in public, which surprises and amuses Lenina. She asks him to specify the place of departure and to give her a week's notice. Lenina then hastens away to join Foster for a game of obstacle golf. Bernard remains behind, looking so pained that Benito Hoover offers him some soma. Bernard simply rushes away.
Lenina and Foster fly above London in their helicopter. During the flight, Lenina gives a description of the various activities being pursued by the castes in the city below. At the same time, Bernard flies toward the Propaganda House to meet Helmholtz Watson. It is revealed that Bernard harbors a complex because of his lack of the usual Alpha height. In his world, physical stature signifies social superiority. Since he is short, he is extremely self-conscious and feels an outsider among his equals and an object of scorn among his inferiors.
Bernard meets Watson at the college of Emotional Engineering. In contrast to Bernard, Watson is "every centimeter an Alpha-Plus;" he is handsome, well-built, extremely intelligent, and much sought after by women. As a lecturer at the College, he writes for the Alpha newspaper and has a way with words. His only drawback as a person is an individualistic streak in a world where conformity is the norm; he suffers from being "a little too able." The two men are very aware of their differences and their mutual discontent and discuss them in privacy. Watson is unable to voice the exact nature or cause of his unhappiness, but he is certain that there is something in him seeking an outlet. Bernard, fully aware of what causes his misery, indulges in self-pity and justifies his nerves almost tearfully. Although Watson is somewhat sympathetic to Bernard, he also holds him in contempt for his weakness.
Again in this chapter, the impersonal, sophisticated high- technology nature of the brave, new world is revealed. Although Lenina approaches Bernard to tell him she wants to go to the Savage Reservation, he is incapable of responding to her emotions; in fact, his pained expression clearly reveals that he is uncomfortable about her straightforwardness. Lenina, on the other hand, has little depth of emotion. Totally unaware of Bernard's response to her, she rushes off to a date with Foster.
During the chapter, Huxley again emphasizes the automated advances that color the brave new world. Lenina and Foster travel in a personal helicopter, and the offices of the "Propaganda Bureau" and "Emotional Engineering College" function with scientific efficiency. In spite of the seeming precision of the new world, there are again definite undercurrents of rebellion depicted. Bernard and Watson, for very different reasons, are uncomfortable with the world of conformity that surrounds them. Bernard suffers from a significant inferiority complex because of his small size; in contrast, Watson is almost too perfect to fit in with the dull conformity around him. At the end of the chapter, there is a sense of uneasiness over the discontent that Bernard and Watson express.