Brave New World

Helmholtz Watson Character Analysis

Helmholtz is the opposite of his close friend, Bernard: he is the perfect embodiment of an Alpha citizen. But whereas Bernard's imperfections make him an individual, Helmholtz's perfection makes him individual. Everything in life comes so easily to Helmholtz—from women, to physical prowess, to professional achievement—that he comes to believe there is more to life. In looking for ways to challenge himself, he realizes the limitations that the World State imposes on its citizens. In this sense, he is an intellectual nonconformist in spite of his physical conformity with State ideals. Unlike Bernard, who often seems to be compensating for his insecurities, Helmholtz is generous, kind, and fun-loving. An Emotional Engineer, he also begins composing his own verses and gets in trouble with the State as a result. He enthusiastically supports John’s short-lived rebellion and welcomes exile to an island, where he can focus on writing.

Helmholtz Watson Quotes in Brave New World

The Brave New World quotes below are all either spoken by Helmholtz Watson or refer to Helmholtz Watson. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Harper Perennial edition of Brave New World published in 2006.
Chapter 12 Quotes

“Why was [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.”

Related Characters: Helmholtz Watson (speaker)
Related Symbols: Shakespeare
Page Number: 185
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 15 Quotes

"Free, free!" the Savage shouted, and with one hand continued to throw the soma into the area while, with the other, he punched the indistinguishable faces of his assailants. "Free!" And suddenly there was Helmholtz at his side–"Good old Helmholtz!"—also punching—"Men at last!"—and in the interval also throwing the poison out by handfuls through the open window. "Yes, men! men!" and there was no more poison left. He picked up the cash-box and showed them its black emptiness. "You're free!"

Howling, the Deltas charged with a redoubled fury.

Related Characters: John (the Savage) (speaker), Helmholtz Watson (speaker)
Page Number: 213
Explanation and Analysis:
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Helmholtz Watson Character Timeline in Brave New World

The timeline below shows where the character Helmholtz Watson appears in Brave New World. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4
Individuality Theme Icon
Bernard flies to the College of Emotional Engineering to visit his friend Helmholtz Watson. Watson is the ideal Alpha-Plus: physically strong, desirable, and almost too outstanding at his... (full context)
Individuality Theme Icon
Helmholtz and Bernard discuss the dilemma of their individuality (though Bernard stifles his jealousy of Helmholtz's... (full context)
Chapter 6
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
Just before they enter, Bernard calls Helmholtz, and to his horror and astonishment, he learns that the Director actually is planning to... (full context)
Chapter 11
Individuality Theme Icon
...situation, sleeping with as many women as he can. When he boasts of this to Helmholtz, however, Helmholtz is saddened. Bernard thinks his friend is jealous, but Helmholtz perceives that behind... (full context)
Chapter 12
Individuality Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
Despite impending trouble, Helmholtz seems genuinely happy that he’s found something to write about. He and the Savage soon... (full context)
Chapter 13
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
The Savage, having expected Helmholtz, is stunned when Lenina shows up at his apartment. He finally falls to his knees... (full context)
Chapter 15
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
Bernard and Helmholtz receive a phone call telling them what the Savage is doing. They rush to the... (full context)
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Technology and Control Theme Icon
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
...Within two minutes, the Deltas are hugging, and soma tablets are once more being distributed. Helmholtz, the Savage, and Bernard are taken into custody by the police. (full context)
Chapter 16
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Technology and Control Theme Icon
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
Bernard, the Savage, and Helmholtz are brought into Mustapha Mond’s study. Helmholtz is in good spirits, while the Savage browses... (full context)
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Technology and Control Theme Icon
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
Industrialism and Consumption Theme Icon
Individuality Theme Icon
...than a punishment—after all, an exile gets to live among other interesting, unorthodox people. When Helmholtz asks why Mond doesn’t live on an island himself, Mond explains that he prefers the... (full context)
Dystopia and Totalitarianism Theme Icon
Technology and Control Theme Icon
The Cost of Happiness Theme Icon
Industrialism and Consumption Theme Icon
...were all too willing to sacrifice truth and beauty to get it. Mond then asks Helmholtz about his island preference—Helmholtz requests one with a bad climate, more suitable for writing—and then... (full context)
Chapter 18
Individuality Theme Icon
Helmholtz and Bernard, on the way to their island exile, stop by the Savage’s apartment to... (full context)