Brave New World Chapter 4 Summary

Instructor: Kaitlin Oglesby

Kaitlin has a BA in political science and extensive experience working in the business world as Director of Marketing and Business Development at a financial advice firm.

This lesson discusses chapter four of Aldous Huxley's classic dystopian novel, Brave New World. In it, we are introduced to Bernard Marx's friend Helmholtz Watson. Read the lesson, then test yourself with the quiz!

A Public Acceptance

Have you ever seen one of those romantic comedies that involves a popular girl falling head over heels for the shy, nerdy boy? In the opening of chapter four of Brave New World, that's what seems to be going on. Lenina has the attention of every man she passes, but the only one she wants is Bernard Marx. Poor Bernard, on the other hand, is seemingly too shy and flustered to get a word in edgewise as Lenina asks him pointedly if they were still on for their date--Bernard previously asked her to take a trip to the Reservation.

We get the idea that this may be the first time in Bernard's life that someone has acted seductively towards him, all in a society in which sex is as common as shaking hands. However, Bernard is infuriated that Lenina has to leave Bernard to go on a date with another man. All the while, an admiring man, Benito Hoover, reminds Bernard that other men have indeed slept with Lenina.

Brave New World cover
Brave New World

Journey to the Feelies

Lenina hops in to the helicopter of her date for the evening, Henry Foster. Remember that Henry is the ideal Alpha, and while he's somewhat frustrated by Lenina being late, he rushes his helicopter above everyone else, flying to the site of their date for the evening. Along the way, the two pass over Central London, with Lenina reflecting on all the inferior classes and why she is thankful to be a Beta. Finally, they arrive at the feelies cinema (where someone can hold their armrests and feel the sensation of touch as well as sound and vision).

Angry Bernard

While Lenina is on her way to the feelies, Bernard is angry and makes his way to visit his close friend Helmholtz Watson. He hated being reminded that the woman that he has pined after is little more than a conquest to practically every other man he meets. It all goes back to Bernard's own feelings of utter inadequacy. After all, the man who commented on Lenina, Benito Hoover, meant nothing harmful by it. In fact, he thinks, Benito may be the only person in the World State who is so genuinely happy as to never need the pleasure-drug soma. Bernard also reflects on his smaller stature--he feels that lower-caste individuals don't take him as seriously as they do taller Alphas. After all, he has to look Gammas and Deltas in the eye, when he should be looking down upon them. Finally, he arrives at Helmholtz's hangar.

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