Study Guide

Brave New World Chapter 4: Part 2

By Aldous Huxley

Chapter 4: Part 2

  • Bernard, still on the roof, is busy lamenting his situation. It took him ages to work up the courage to ask Lenina out, and then she talked about it in public as if it were nothing. He wanted her to be different from the others.
  • She's not.
  • Bernard goes to his own helicopter-style machine and roughly commands the Delta-Minus workers to wheel it out for him.
  • The text reveals that he is not too secure with his own authority over them. This is probably because he's short, whereas Alphas are supposed to be taller than everyone else. "I am I," he thinks, "and wish I wasn't."
  • Because Bernard is mocked, he acts like an outsider, which means he gets mocked more. Oh, a vicious cycle it is.
  • Once he is flying comfortably over London, Bernard takes mental note of the different newspapers of the city: one for upper castes, one for Gammas, one for Deltas. (We can assume that Epsilons can't read.)
  • He lands on the roof of the Bureau of Propaganda, orders a porter to fetch this guy named Mr. Watson, and lights a cigarette while he waits.
  • Upon hearing that Bernard is waiting, Helmholtz Watson quickly hurries to the roof. He is your prototypical Alpha-Plus—broad-shouldered, sturdy, good-looking. He's a lecturer at the College of Emotional Engineering. In his downtime he writes rhyming hypnopaedic slogans.
  • Interestingly, his excessive braininess has set him just a little apart from the rest of his colleagues—much like Bernard. We would summarize this idea for you, but Huxley says it pretty well: "What the two men shared was the knowledge that they were individuals."
  • Also, Helmholtz is a total stud. He's been with six hundred forty girls in less than four years.
  • Despite all his extracurricular activities, Helmholtz Watson is dissatisfied. He wants something more—he just doesn't know what that something is.
  • As Helmholtz makes his way to the roof, three women jump out of the shadows and offer him a foursome.
  • Helmholtz says no to the temptresses.
  • He climbs into Bernard's helicopter.
  • Bernard, who's a wee bit jealous of Helmholtz's internal woman-magnet, makes a point of telling him he's taking Lenina to New Mexico.
  • Helmholtz's all, "That's nice, but I don't care." Instead, he talks about his self-imposed abstinence over the last two weeks. The text notes that such asceticism can produce even more braininess.
  • Back at Bernard's place, Helmholtz asks him if he's ever felt there was something inside him waiting to come out.
  • Like an alien?
  • No, like a feeling. Helmholtz thinks he has the power to say something important, if only he knew what that important thing was. He knows the hypnopaedic rhymes he makes are good, but he thinks that "what you make with them ought to be good too."
  • This is followed by one of the most intense and stunning passages in the book. Helmholtz says that words can be like X-rays—they can pierce anything. But not when you're writing about nothing. He thinks he can do something "more intense, more violent" if only he knew what that was.
  • Bernard tells him to hush and, paranoid, goes to the door to see if anyone is standing there listening.
  • No one is there, but Bernard remarks that "when people are suspicious with you, you start being suspicious with them."
  • Then Bernard laments about how Helmholtz doesn't know what he's had to put up with lately.
  • Helmholtz feels sorry for the guy, but he secretly thinks Bernard ought to show a little more pride.