After reading Brave New World, I am surprised, confused and disappointed. The ending was not at all how I expected it to be. In the beginning chapters of the story, I thought Bernard was the protagonist. He was different from everyone and I thought he was going to rebel from the World State and be the “hero” by the end of the book but that was not the case. I then continued reading and from the middle chapters, I saw that Bernard’s character was changing. He was starting to act like everyone else around him, he was following the rules of the World State like acting promiscuously and he started taking soma. All these thoughts I had about Bernard really disappointed me, especially when reading chapter fifteen.
In chapter fifteen, we learn that Linda dies and John turns the hospital into complete chaos. John begins screaming, he punches people in their faces and even throws out the supply of soma out of the window. All the people couldn’t believe what John was doing. Bernard says “he’s mad, they’ll kill him. Ford help him!” (pg 193) John shouted “free, free” “men at last!” “you’re free!” (pg 193) while he was throwing out the soma. I was happy that John was doing this because I felt like he was giving everyone a reality check, which they didn’t understand. He was trying to show them that soma is not everything in life, he thinks soma is like poison. All these people are so caught up in following what’s “right and wrong” in life, that I think they’re not even really living a life because they are all already “predestined” and everything they’re supposed to do is already laid out for them to do like taking soma, participating in orgies, believing in “Ford” and being promiscuous.
I was really disappointed with Bernard on page 193. John was supposed to be Bernard’s friend, he brought back John and Linda to the World State and brought them to the Director. I knew that Bernard did this for revenge on the Director, but I also thought that Bernard actually somewhat cared for John and Linda? In previous readings we found out that Bernard was only using them both for his own purposes, to gain popularity.
I wanted to think that Bernard would have turned out differently by the end of the story. I truly thought Bernard was going to be a leader, but in reality he is actually just like everyone else, a follower. From pages 193-194 Bernard has an internal conflict where he is watching all this chaos in the hospital go on and how John is acting and he thinks of helping the others and he is “urged by a sudden impulse, ran forward to help them; then thought better of it and halted; then, ashamed, stepped forward again then again thought better of it and was standing in an agony of humiliated indecision” (pg 193) He starts thinking about how John is going crazy and taking all his built up emotions and anger out on the other people. I thought Bernard was going to step in and be a man and help the others and after going back and forth with what to do, but he just decides to play the victim.
Although, I wanted Bernard to be the hero, I liked how Huxley changed up the story. It would be too predictable for Bernard to be the hero and the ending was definitely unexpected. I think this made the ending of the story more interesting, then how it may have been with Bernard being the hero, like a “happy ever after” I think that would have been boring.
I finished reading with the question.. What happened to Lenina?
Something I learned in sociology class was Karl Marx’s Conflict View of Social Change. This concept was “conflict is progress and progress is conflict” this concept reminded me of Brave New World. Bernard and John both brought conflict to the World State, Bernard was unlike the others in his caste system, Alpha Plus and at first he didn’t live the way he was supposed to, which caused conflict. Bernard brought John to the World State, which also caused conflict. When there was an attempt at progress, there were more conflicts that followed.