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Brave New World Chapter 6 Summary

Instructor: Kaitlin Oglesby
This lesson discusses Chapter 6 of Aldous Huxley's dystopian novel, Brave New World. In this chapter, Lenina and Bernard head to New Mexico, and Lenina questions more of Bernard's characteristics. Read the lesson, then test yourself with the quiz!

Odd Marx Out

As Chapter 6 of Brave New World opens, all that Lenina Crowne can think about is just how odd her companion Bernard Marx is. In the society of the World State, it is perfectly normal for men to throw themselves at Lenina, and that's what she clearly wants. Bernard, however, is just odd. Rather than take part in all the fun that the state has to offer, or that Lenina has to offer for that matter, Bernard wants to just spend time with her alone. He would much prefer to walk and talk with her then take the soma (a drug used to subdue and control the citizens) or only have sex with her. It's clear he still doesn't feel that he fits into this society, and Lenina very openly thinks that she wouldn't be wasting her time if not for the opportunity for a trip to the Savage Reservation in New Mexico.

Tough Questions

So while Lenina is content to put up with Bernard's weirdness, he seems to press the questions harder. He doesn't take the soma when he feels ''miserable''--according to Lenina; he is standoffish to other people; and, perhaps most odd of all, he questions the hypopaedic training that they all received as children. He even stops the helicopter to watch the waves hit the cliffs, an unthinkable experience for someone like Lenina who thinks that consumption is the only way to gain depth and happiness.

The Director's Office

Of course, to go to the Reservation, Bernard requires the approval of his boss, the Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning (DHC). The DHC approves the documentation necessary for Bernard and Lenina to go, but he then launches into Bernard. Talk of his oddness outside of work has made it to the DHC. After all, the DHC is in charge of conditioning as well, so having a psychologist like Bernard acting so oddly is a point of concern. That said, while the DHC clearly thinks that his talking to Bernard will straighten him out, it instead emboldens Bernard. Rather than cowering, Bernard proudly walks out, then promptly brags about his encounter with the DHC with his good friend Helmholtz.

Brave New World cover
Brave New World cover

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