Notes on Brave New World Themes

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Brave New World Topic Tracking: Inferiority

Chapter 1

Inferiority 1: The embryos are divided into different castes right from the start, even before they are decanted as human beings. There is a predetermined split between superior and inferior prior to "birth."

Chapter 2

Inferiority 2: The government uses sleep-teaching to reinforce a sense of superiority on the part of the Alphas and a sense of inferiority on the part of the Epsilons.

Chapter 3

Inferiority 3: From the very first moment we encounter Bernard, he is surly and seen unfavorably by others, and snubbed.

Inferiority 4: Fanny talks behind Bernard's back. She thinks he is inferior and is surprised that Lenina is interested in him because he is physically not as adequate as other males of his Alpha-plus caste.

"Those who feel themselves despised do well to look despising. The smile on Bernard Marx's face was contemptuous." Chapter 3, pg. 35

Inferiority 5: Bernard feels inferior because he is shut out of the conversation between Henry Foster and the Assistant Predestinator. They talk as if he is not there. He is disgusted with how they talk about Lenina in purely a sexual context, as if she were just meat. He compounds his feeling of being shut out by shutting himself out, and this makes people dislike him even more.

Chapter 4, Part 1

Inferiority 6: For some reason, Bernard can not accept the sexual morality of the World State, even though he was sleep-taught the moral codes just like everyone else. He feels emotions, which in general is an oddity, but especially, he feels intense jealousy when Lenina goes to Henry Foster. It reminds him that although he (that is, Bernard) is higher-ranking, he is physically inferior to Henry Foster and all of the other men of his own Alpha-plus caste. He feels this constantly.

Chapter 4, Part 2

Inferiority 7: Bernard's intense feeling of inferiority and isolation causes him to be insecure about his authority role. As a result, he acts arrogant to the castes below him and his boasting often repels his only friend, Helmholtz Watson.

Chapter 5, Part 2

Inferiority 8: Bernard feels an intense sinking feeling of inferiority at the orgy-porgy. His feelings of inferiority deepen, because unlike others in his caste, Bernard does not feel the frenzy and excitement of the orgy-porgy. He criticizes himself for sitting next to unattractive women, and out of jealousy, he criticizes another man, calling him a lout because the man has gotten a seat between two better-looking women.

Chapter 6, Part 1

Inferiority 9: Bernard tries to explain his desire to be alone and to watch the night sky to Lenina. She does not understand, and she is horrified and cries and asks why he is so strange. He feels inferior. Finally, he gives up and takes some soma, and they end up having the same kind of casual sex that he was silently criticizing in the changing room with Henry Foster and the Assistant Predestinator.

Chapter 6, Part 2

Inferiority 10: Bernard's feeling of inferiority causes him to act arrogant. He boasts to Helmholtz about the reprimand that he receives for expressing his subversive views to Lenina. Bernard has trouble with authority because he feels so uncomfortable with his own authority as a result of his own shortcomings and feelings of inadequacy.

Chapter 6, Part 3

Inferiority 11: The Savage Reservation is kept isolated by the use of electric fences.

They are trapped, which reinforces their inferiority. Bernard too feels trapped in his social caste.

Chapter 8

Inferiority 12: All his life, John has been an outcast at the reservation as a result of his mother's promiscuity. He does not look like other people on the reservation; John often feels inferior and different. Bernard identifies with this feeling of inferiority. He decides to invite John back to London because he knows that the presence of John, the Director's illegitimate child, will embarrass the Director and put Bernard in a superior position. Bernard is still angry about the Director reprimanding him. Bernard's vengeful nature is another product of his feelings of inferiority.

Chapter 10

Inferiority 13: Bernard has humiliated the Director by showing the Director's illegitimate son and his mother to a group of people. This is also a disgusting display of monogamy. Bernard does this to enhance his own image, to make up for his feelings of inferiority.

Chapter 11

Inferiority 14: Because Bernard humiliated the Director only to overcome his own inferior feelings, he does not know how to handle his fame, and becomes arrogant. He even lectures World Controller Mustapha Mond, who thinks that Bernard has gone mad to lecture him. Bernard acts egotistical, bragging to his only friend Helmholtz Watson, and does not see that his fame will be short-lived. People see through his momentary glory and still see him as physically inadequate.

Chapter 12

Inferiority 15: Bernard's fame is beginning to crumple, starting with the Savage's refusal to show up at an assembly where there are many powerful figures. Bernard realizes that he does not have control over the Savage, and he is left feeling inferior again.

Inferiority 16: Bernard introduces the Savage and Helmholtz, and he is jealous when they like each other more than they like him. He feels inferior and left out.

Chapter 15

Inferiority 17: Due to the lack of confidence in his social position, Bernard is so insecure that he must always be on the side that is popular. As a result, he does not really want to be seen with the Savage, because he knows that associating himself with a troublemaker and subversive thinker will bring his own fame down. Eventually he gives up and goes anyway, seeing no other choice.

Chapter 16

Inferiority 18: Bernard once again makes an ass of himself in front of authority and friends. He sobs when he is threatened with exile, and must be taken away and sedated. His crushing sense of inferiority and insecurity makes him unable to stand up for himself and unable to bear the consequences of his actions.

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