Celina's Blog

Brave New World: Bernard (Chapter 10 and earlier)


Bernard is an interesting character, and I don’t quite understand him yet. At first, he’s portrayed as a sort of social outcast; he has a different view of the world and is physically weak. I think Bernard’s character is greatly affected by the fact that he works with the conditioning of babies on a daily basis, he knows exactly what everyone is forced to think as, throughout the majority of chapter 6, he would point out to himself whenever Lenina would state a hypnopaedic saying, mumbling how may times the line would’ve been repeated to them as infants.

I also think that he’s proud of the fact that he’s going against the system in tiny ways, even if he’s to cowardly to do anything drastic. In chapter 6 part 2, Bernard goes to see the Director to get a permit signed so that he and Lenina can go to the Savage Reservation. After allowing Bernard the trip, he threatens to transfer Bernard to a Sub-Centre in Iceland, expecting him to change his behaviour and conform to the normal infantile behaviour that Alphas are supposed to have. Instead, Bernard is almost proud of himself, and the fact that he’s not following the social norm to the point that he’s being called out on it, not taking the threat seriously at all. In chapter 6 part 1, and chapters 3 and 4, we see him refuse offers of soma multiple times, saying to Lenina instead that: ‘I’d rather be myself, Myself and nasty. Not somebody else, however jolly.’

What confuses me, though, is whether or not Bernard actually disapproves of this system. While these previous things lead me to believe that he does disapprove, but on the other hand, he is determined to keep his social ranking. We see this when he brings John and Linda back to the Civilized World, effectively humiliating the Director and securing his job.

Bernard confuses me.


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