Brave New World: Chapter 12

This chapter begins with Bernard’s attempt to make the Savage (who is reading Romeo and Juliet) leave his room and come down to the party which Bernard has created— a dinner where the most important dignitaries have been invited in order to see the fascinating Savage. But to Bernard’s agony and anger, the Savage refuses to leave, swearing at him in words only his Indian language can express. Huxley narrates, “What should have been the crowning moment of Bernard’s whole career had turned out to be the moment of greatest humiliation.”When Bernard returns to give the bad news to his guests, he finds that their polite respect for him is gone instantly. It’s at this moment Bernard realizes that nobody has been kind to him because of his own merits, but simply due to his access to the Savage.In another scene, Mustapha Mond, the world controller, is reading a new science book requiring his approval to be published. The Controller rejects the book, citing its dangerous ideas. He maintains, “…so far as the present social order is concerned, [the book is] dangerous and potentially subversive.”Soon Bernard, having no other friends anymore, apologizes to Helmholtz and asks to be friends again. Helmholtz agrees and soon Bernard, Helmholtz and the Savage start to hang out together frequently. Huxley narrates, “Helmholtz and the Savage took to one another at once. So cordially indeed that Bernard felt a sharp pang of jealousy.” Again, Bernard feels alienation and isolation.Soon the Savage and Helmholtz begin a series of intellectual discussions and readings. When the Savage shows Romeo and Juliet to Helmholtz, Helmholtz finds it extremely comical; he can’t understand why there is so much tension and controversy regarding a man wanting a woman. In modern culture, he says, the two would just have each other and wouldn’t think twice. This troubles the Savage, who continues to cling to the old moral system of the Indian/Christian tradition.