Brave New World Chapter 4 Summary

As chapter four begins Lenina is in the Alpha Changing Rooms looking for Bernard Marx. She finds him and greets him warmly. She announces to him and anyone else in hearing distance that she would like to go with him to the Savage Reservation in New Mexico. She wants to discuss their plans but Bernard does not want to talk to her in such a public place. Bernard is still upset about the conversation the Assistant Predestinator and Henry Foster had about Lenina. But Lenina was hoping to dispel any rumors about her relationship with Henry Foster. She wanted everyone to know she was seeing other people. Also Lenina is confused by Bernard's reaction to her acceptance of the date. He seems embarrassed that she is being so public about it. She tries to make a joke out of his reaction by telling him how funny he is. At the last minute before Bernard is totally mortified, the elevator appears to take them up to the roof of the building. Bernard seizes his opportunity and they go up on the roof. She tries to tease him by telling him it would be a perfect place for a game of Obstacle Golf; as she knows he does not care for the game. Lenina needs to rush to her date with Henry Foster, so she tells Bernard to let her know when they will be going on their trip.

Lenina reaches Henry's helicopter to find Henry waiting for her. His only words to her are that she is "four minutes late." He lifts off and takes them across London to Stoke Poges to play Obstacle Golf. Along the way Lenina sees a group of Gammas and remarks how she hates khaki. She does not even realize she is just repeating what she was hyponaedically programmed to say.

Meanwhile, Bernard is approached by Benito Hoover who is a very good-natured man. He is only trying to be nice to Bernard when he tells Bernard that he looks down and could use some soma. Instead it is all too much for Bernard and he rushes away leaving Benito a bit confused. Bernard feels inferior to the other Alphas, he is shorter and has less body mass than the average Alpha. To compensate for this he belittles those of a lower caste. He is upset that Lenina is not living up to his fantasy of her. He thought that she would be like him, shy and private. When she wasn't he became angry and felt horrible about how she acted and how he behaved. His mantra is "I am I, and wish I wasn't." He feels that no one respects him, not even the Epsilons. The years of being made fun of by the Alpha men and the years of rejection by women have taken a toll on him. He is envious of any man who was physically bigger than him or more successful with women.

Bernard flies his helicopter to the Propaganda House. This is the building in which his one true friend, Helmholtz Watson works. Helmholtz is a lecturer at the College of Emotional Engineering (Department of Writing) and also an Emotional Engineer. He is probably the brightest person working there; this sets him apart from his coworkers. Even though physically he is a large, powerful, handsome man (who it is said had 640 different girls in less than four years), he is like Bernard, lonely. He is different and in the Community being different in anyway sets you apart. He and Bernard have come together to discuss what Helmholtz can do that interests him more than anything else. Helmholtz knows there is more for him, but what? As he is leaving his office he is chased by three women who want him to go on a picnic with them. They are very persistent even when he repeatedly tells them no. He finally gets away by climbing into Bernard's helicopter. Helmholtz complains about how he is continually pestered by women. Bernard wishes that he had that problem. To brag, Bernard tells Helmholtz of his plans with Lenina. Helmholtz does not respond in the way that Bernard hopes. Instead he tells Bernard of how he is cutting out his committees and girls. He thinks it is beneficial to him. He feels the effects are odd. Helmholtz, once at Bernard's apartment, confesses that he feels as if he has something inside him waiting to come out. He just doesn't know what it is. He feels like he has more important and powerful things to say. He is stuck because he is only allowed to write about what they tell him to write. So he does not understand how he can be more powerful and violent.

As Helmholtz is expressing his innermost feelings to Bernard, Bernard thinks he hears someone at his door. But when Helmholtz opens the door, no one is there. Bernard feels once again like a fool. He tells Helmholtz of how the people at work are suspicious of him. He complains that Helmholtz just doesn't know what he has had to put up with. All Helmholtz feels is uncomfortable and a bit ashamed that his friend does not have more pride in himself.

Chapter four lets the reader understand Bernard even better. We see that he has put Lenina up on a pedestal and when she does not meet his expectations than he becomes angry with her. We also meet Bernard's only friend Helmholtz Watson who, because he is brighter than everyone else at the Propaganda House, is like Bernard, somewhat an outcaste in the Community. Huxley is commenting on how society treats people who are in anyway different than the norm. The fact that these people are seen as outcasts and a threat to society shows that deviance from the norm is considered wrong and toxic to society.

Related Links:

Brave New World Chapter 5 Summary
Brave New World Chapter 6 Summary
Brave New World Summary
Brave New World Quiz
Literature Summaries

To link to this Brave New World Chapter 4 Summary page, copy the following code to your site: