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Free Study Guide-Brave New World by Aldous Huxley-Free Booknotes
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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES

CHAPTER 12

Summary

As anticipated, Bernard's good fortune does not last. One evening when he invites the Arch-Community Songster of Canterbury, along with some others, to meet the Savage, John refuses to oblige; he locks himself up in his room and refuses to emerge. He lapses into his native speech to express his anger. Bernard's guests are openly furious and scornful about the turn of events; however, they are maliciously gleeful to see Bernard so uncomfortable. Lenina, who had hoped to confess her attraction to John, is especially upset by his behavior and wonders if he is avoiding her specifically. When the guests depart, Bernard is more shaken, uncertain, and isolated than ever before.

Bernard has mixed feelings of anger and affection for the Savage and sometimes seeks to hurt him. He also has mixed emotions for Helmholtz. When he was glorying in the attention created by John, Bernard totally ignored his old friend. Now that he is no longer in the limelight, Bernard again turns to Helmholtz, who is ready once again to befriend him with no thought of personal gain. Such generosity shames Bernard, perversely annoying him. He is also annoyed at the ease with which the Savage and Helmholtz enter into a friendship. The two of them have a common bond in Shakespeare, which irritates Bernard; he never misses an opportunity to ridicule them about their affection for literature. Helmholtz, however, is never able to understand or appreciate John's emotional rendering of Romeo and Juliet; he even laughs at the Savage for his sensitivity to the play.

The Controller is seen in a new role in this chapter, as the chief censor and major guardian of Utopia. He rejects any attempt to publish theories on life that might upset the new world's careful conditioning. When he is given a new treatise to read, he appreciates its content but fears its novelty could endanger the artificially induced social stability of the new order; therefore, he plans to move the writer to a distant location. Too much knowledge is simply too dangerous.


Notes

Additional negative aspects of the new world are brought to light in this chapter. Like the old world that they wanted to escape, this new order is filled with petty rivalries and insincere relationships. Without any scruples, the alpha community turns against Bernard and makes him realize that he has been tolerated only for his possession of the novelty of the Savage. Bernard himself vacillates in his friendship for Helmholtz, ignoring him when he is in the limelight and turning to him when he feels lonely and isolated. Bernard even has mixed feelings for the Savage, caring for him one moment and despising him the next. He is particularly jealous of the easy friendship that develops between John and Helmholtz. Huxley, of course, is satirizing the upper class of his own society, exposing the pettiness beneath the polish.

Lenina continues to be miserable; she simply cannot understand John's attitude about sex and longs to have a relationship with him. John also continues to suffer in the new word. He is tired of being on display and one night refuses to emerge from his room when Bernard brings visitors to meet him. Bernard becomes the laughing stock of the upper crust and falls out of favor.

The Controller is the only one in the chapter to be painted in a more positive light. Although he rejects a new treatise given to him for review, he comes across as a rather enlightened dictator; he is aware of the value of what he is rejecting but does so to preserve what he believes to be the common good.

The chapter is a face-paced one creating a montage filled with different voices and action. Each character and event, however, delivers the same underlying message: utopian existence is far from perfect.

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