Brave New World

Brave New World Chapter 6 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Lenina thinks about how strange Bernard is. For instance, he prefers talking in private to playing Electro-magnetic golf. She recalls one night when they attended a women's wrestling match in Amsterdam. Bernard was gloomy, but he refused to take any soma, saying he wanted to be himself. Flying back from Amsterdam, he shut off the music, hovered over the wild ocean, and wished he were free of his conditioning. Lenina, shocked by his behavior and distressed by the silence and remoteness, repeated the hypnopaedic saying, "Everyone is happy nowadays," and begged him to take some soma.
Bernard and Lenina’s date gives a clear example of Bernard's individuality versus Lenina's full-strength conditioning. Bernard doesn’t avoid unpleasant emotions, and he is comfortable with thinking and observing nature. By contrast, Lenina finds these activities incomprehensible, even troubling. She falls back on her conditioning and hypnopaedic sayings to protect herself from even considering what Bernard is saying.
Themes
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Technology and Control Theme Icon
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
Related Quotes
In the end, Lenina and Bernard ended their date by going back to his apartment and sleeping together. But Bernard regretted having slept together on their first date, to Lenina’s confusion, and he reflected mournfully that the World State is full of emotional children who want instant gratification. Lenina couldn't understand why Bernard would think such infantilization is bad, since, after all, it’s fun.
As an individual, Bernard despises his slavery. As a conditioned World State citizen, Lenina loves her slavery. Lenina’s capacity for deeper emotions has never been given a chance to develop; conditioning ensures that she only desires superficial enjoyment. Bernard, however, longs for something more.
Themes
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
A few days later, Bernard asks the Director to sign the permit needed to visit the Savage Reservation in New Mexico. The Director reminisces about his own vacation on the reservation, nearly 20 years earlier. During his trip, a storm separated him from his female companion, who disappeared. The Director realizes he's just let slip a terrible secret to Bernard. To hide his embarrassment, he chastises Bernard's recent non-infantile behavior, and says that if it continues, Bernard will be reassigned to Iceland. With grim pleasure, Bernard thinks that now he's truly an outsider, standing up against society.
Hypocritically, the Director spouts the conditioned morality of the World State while threatening to punish Bernard, which masks the Director’s own deviations from that morality. (The Director’s story about New Mexico will be significant later in the story.) Bernard, meanwhile, is pleased by his threatened exile, because it makes him feel like an individual, even an important one, perhaps for the first time.
Themes
Individuality Theme Icon
Bernard and Lenina travel to the Reservation in New Mexico, staying first in a luxurious Santa Fe hotel. When the Reservation warden begins their tour, he explains that the Reservation is surrounded by an electric fence so no one can escape. Also, children are still born there, marriage still occurs, old religions and extinct languages survive, and no conditioning takes place.
The first night of their trip contrasts in every way with the “outdated” conditions Bernard and Lenina are about to encounter on the Reservation. The Reservation is considered to be completely uncivilized, but for surprising reasons, i.e., people still get married, bear natural children, and don’t undergo conditioning by the State.
Themes
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Technology and Control Theme Icon
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Just before they enter, Bernard calls Helmholtz, and to his horror and astonishment, he learns that the Director actually is planning to transfer him to Iceland. Now Bernard realizes he only enjoyed facing the Director's threat because he didn't think it would be carried out. Lenina convinces him to take soma. Though he’d resisted earlier, he finally relents, and soon his worries melt away. The helicopter delivers them to a rest-house in the valley of Malpais.
Bernard comes to an uncomfortable realization about his own cowardice. Most World State members never face such realizations, because they seldom think critically about anything, and if they do, they just take soma to escape reality. This time, Bernard indulges in a rare escape from his thoughts, just as he and Lenina are about to enter an atmosphere that’s relatively free from World State influence.
Themes
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon