Chapter 12 Notes from Brave New World

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Brave New World Chapter 12

The Savage refuses to appear at an assembly Bernard has organized. He curses at him in Zuñi and spits on the ground, as he has seen Popé do. His refusal is an outrage, but the rage is directed mostly toward Bernard. The important and impatient assembly is very angry with Bernard. Bernard is shamed. Lenina is among those waiting. She is very anxious about the previous night's events. She actually feels emotions, both emptiness and nausea. The Arch-Community-Songster, a figure of authority who leads celebrations of Ford, tells Bernard to mend his ways, and then leaves with Lenina. Bernard, alone, begins to weep, and takes soma.

Topic Tracking: Inferiority 15

Mustapha Mond is reading a report on biology. He decides to censor it and to supervise the author, watching out for further subversiveness lest it become necessary to deport him to an island. He writes in thick pen "Not to be published". Meanwhile, John is reading Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and the Arch-Community-Songster is hitting on Lenina. Bernard has gotten over his success and is very depressed. He tells the Savage about it and the Savage is sympathetic, remarking that he prefers the real Bernard to the falsely happy Bernard. Bernard is angry and blames him for his unhappiness. He plans for revenge against the Savage, since he is powerless against anyone else. He goes to see Helmholtz, who he had abandoned at the height of his brief success, and Helmholtz accepts him back. Bernard confides in him once again and Helmholtz consoles him. He finds out that Helmholtz too has been in trouble for writing some rhymes about being alone, a concept which goes against all principles of sleep-teaching. In spite of the fact that he is a marked man, Helmholtz is happy because he finally feels like he has been accessing the strange unknown well of feeling inside him of which he could not formerly identify. Bernard introduces Helmholtz and the Savage, and they get along so well that Bernard is immediately jealous and hateful. At their third meeting, Helmholtz shares his poetry with the Savage, who in turn shares poetry from an old book of his. They are both very excited. Bernard feels like the odd man out and tries to bring them down, jealous that his two friends like each other more than they like him. The Savage and Helmholtz discuss how Shakespeare's writing is far superior to that of the propaganda technicians. They laugh over the plot of Romeo and Juliet, especially the absurdity of a mother and father (that in itself is absurd) forcing the daughter to marry (also an absurd concept) someone who she did not want to be with, and the daughter actually preferring someone else. They laugh some more, and Helmholtz says that ridiculous situations were necessary in order to produce such wonderful writing.

"Why was that old fellow [Shakespeare] such a marvellous propaganda technician? Because he had so many insane, excruciating things to get excited about. You've got to be hurt and upset; otherwise you can't think of the really good, penetrating X-rayish phrases... No, it won't do. We need some other kind of madness and violence. But what? What? Where can one find it?... I don't know." Chapter 12, pg. 185

Topic Tracking: Inferiority 16

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