We have finally reached the end of this story and I am left unsatisfied. Questions about the society have been answered yes, but I do not like the ending of the characters. Questions about what happens to the characters now and what fate are they left to. Are these questions left to the reader to figure out?
Bernard the coward. In the last few chapters our protagonist Bernard has shown to be nothing but a coward that will do anything to be accepted by his “Fordship” or to look like a sort of hero as seen in the last couple chapters when he introduced the savages. Analyzing his character throughout the story, Bernard seemed like the character that would eventually rebel against the system and express his own views and ideas. I realized that after his downfall at the party he completely lost his momentum in the story. We see in chapter 16 Bernard says “You can’t send me. I haven’t done anything. It was the others. I swear it was the others.” He pointed accusingly yo Helmholtz and the savage. “Oh, please don’t send me to Iceland. I promise I’ll do what I ought to do. Give me another chance. Please give me another chance. (203). We clearly see Bernard give up and as we say “throws under the bus” his supposed two best friends, the only people he can relate to. Without question puts full blame on them like nothing just to get out of this inevitable and certain relocation. I found this to be the most cowardly act from Bernard, crying and pleading to take the “others” instead of himself. We later see him asking for forgiveness in chapter 18 “And by the way John,” he continued, leaning forward in his chair and laying a hand on the Savage’s knee, “I want to say how sorry I am about everything that happened yesterday.” He blushed. “How ashamed,” he went on, in spite of the unsteadiness of his voice.” (217) We can see how confused and out of place Bernard is, clearly his mental state is unstable and relocation is the best option for him. Until he finds himself, he will remain under the shadow of Helmholtz even on the island.
The calm and accepting Helmhotlz. Completely opposite of Bernard, he accepts his fate of being sent away to an island with pleasure “By the way, Mr. Watson, would you like a tropical climate? The Marquesas, for example; or Samoa? Of something rather more bracing?” Helmholtz rose from his pneumatic chair. “I should like a thoroughly bad climate,” he answered. “I believe one would write better if the climate were bad. If there were a lot of wind and storms, for example. . .” (206) I feel as if Helmholtz remains strong and proud as an Alpha should, accepting his fate and speaking to someone with such power as the worlds controller with no problem or tremor in his voice is definitely admirable. He keeps his composure as well as controls Bernard’s tantrums. I feel he will do well in the islands, I can sense he will find himself and more people to discover what he has been questioning about himself since our introduction to his character.
John’s sad fate. John’s character has really has hit his highs and lows. He is being taught about the world state’s society throughout his time being there. I personally think it was too much for him to understand and take in. Not being born into this lifestyle made everything harder to picture and believe. I also believe that the combination of the Savage way of life and the World State’s “civil” way, were polar opposites and not easy on John to comprehend. In chapter 17, John and Mustapha have a lengthy conversation on religion and the way things “should” be compared to the way they are. Both sides of the arguments seem to make a lot of sense in their own way, and as readers we now fully understand and can grasp why things are the way they are in the World State. John on the other hand chooses to do things the way he feels is right. Ultimately, we find that John gives into his thoughts of Lenina, which go against what he was trying to prove to himself that he was able to overcome and ends his life.
This ending has me wondering what will happen with Lenina, one of the only characters that had he most interaction with the main characters. She also knows the most about how Bernard truly felt. Will she ignore what she heard? Will her love for John fade away now that he’s dead? Will Mond or anyone find out about what happened between her and John? Will she be exiled if they do find out?
Really liked the story regardless of the ending, just wished Huxley left us with some closure on the characters.
I was eft feel unsatisfied as well. One question I have in regards to Lenina is was that her John was beating with the whip in the last chapter? They never said her name they just said the woman was with Henry Foster and when John saw her he got enraged. It’s on page 229. Could that possibly lenina?
Good question Denise … all details do point to that woman being Lenina.
Fantastic post Brian! I’ve chosen it as one of the featured posts for that week.