Brave New World: Chapter 4

This chapter begins with Lenina asking Bernard if he will take her to New Mexico with him on his trip to the Reservation. Bernard is embarrassed when she asks him in public, and tries his best to avoid the question. Later, it’s made known that Bernard really does like her but is too afraid to ask her to go out with him. Bernard still suffers much humiliation from his short, Gamma-like stature. This makes it difficult for others to respect Bernard, since sleep-teaching hypnosis makes them automatically associate height with caste level. Huxley explains, “The mockery made him feel an outsider; and feeling an outsider he behaved like one, which increased the prejudice against him and intensified the contempt and hostility aroused by his physical defects.”Soon Bernard meets Helmholtz, the emotional engineer and long-time friend who also experiences alienation from society, not due to his physical inferiority, but due to both his physical and mental superiority. Like Bernard, Helmholtz feels as though his life is not quite complete, as if there’s something else he requires. Helmholtz tries to explain this to Bernard, saying, “Did you ever feel as though you had something inside you that was only waiting for you to give it a chance to come out? Some sort of extra power that you aren’t using— you know, like all the water that goes down the falls instead of through the turbines?”Bernard isn’t sure what he means exactly, but Helmholtz seems to be on the brink of something big. The two seem to be fighting the same war on different fronts.