Brave New World

Brave New World Chapter 12 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
At a party Bernard throws so that people can meet the Savage, John refuses to leave his room, preferring to shout insults through the door in Zuni. When it's clear that the Savage won't appear, the guests grow angry at Bernard, whom they were only humoring for the sake of seeing the Savage. The Arch-Community-Songster, an important guest, warns Bernard to "mend his ways." Lenina, who’s also shown up to the party, is confused by the rush of emotions she feels when she hears that John isn’t coming. She ends up leaving with the Songster, while a weeping Bernard takes soma and John reads Shakespeare.
Bernard discovers that, in his individuality, he’ll never truly fit in to World State society; the superficial acceptance was only due to the Savage. Lenina’s self-perception is likewise shaken—her strong feelings and unfulfilled desires are new and unsettling. She copes by joining in meaningless sex, while Bernard uncharacteristically indulges in soma.
Themes
Individuality Theme Icon
Mustapha Mond reads an ingenious academic paper on biology and decides that it mustn’t be published because it’s potentially subversive; the author might need to be exiled. The problem with the author’s argument is that he seeks a purpose higher than happiness, which Mond knows could decondition higher-caste minds.
Even as John's presence disrupts society, Mond continues to control and regulate it. Mond is fully aware that making happiness society’s highest goal is the key to a conformist society, and that if people are prompted to question this goal, World State society could begin to unravel.
Themes
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
The next day, Bernard is back to his old self: nervous, alone, and melancholy. The Savage likes this version of Bernard better, because it’s more similar to his disposition when visiting Malpais. Bernard nurses resentment against the Savage even though he genuinely likes him and knows it’s unfair to blame Society’s fickleness on him. He also meekly accepts Helmholtz’s forgiveness for Bernard’s neglect of his old friend. Helmholtz, too, has run into conflict with Society because he dared to compose some original rhymes.
Bernard returns to his real friends, though he resents his loss of societal prominence and the necessity of humbling himself. For opposite reasons, Helmholtz and Bernard continue to conflict with World State Society: Bernard because he's forced to, Helmholtz because he is consciously pushing against the rules of conformity.
Themes
Individuality Theme Icon
Despite impending trouble, Helmholtz seems genuinely happy that he’s found something to write about. He and the Savage soon become good friends, sparking Bernard’s jealousy. When Helmholtz recites his rhymes to the Savage, the Savage reads him lines of Shakespeare in return, and Helmholtz is filled with new emotion. Bernard mocks the verses as “orgy-porgy,” and later even Helmholtz laughs helplessly at Romeo and Juliet’s references to mothers, fathers, and unfulfilled passion.
Helmholtz and the Savage begin to bond over the emotions that fuel genuine art—leaving Bernard, once again, an outsider. Helmholtz is beginning to understand that when powerful emotions are eliminated by constant “happiness,” some of humanity’s greatest accomplishments are rendered impossible. However, even he is so conditioned that certain elements of Shakespeare are incomprehensible to him, appearing merely comical.
Themes
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
Related Quotes
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