The characters in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World represent certain political and social ideas. Huxley used what he saw in the world in which he lived to form his book. From what he saw, he imagined that life was heading in a direction of a utopian government control. Huxley did not imagine this as a good thing. He uses the characters of Brave New World to express his view of utopia being impossible and detrimental. One such character he uses to represent the idealogy behind this is Bernard Marx.
Bernard Marx is a character that represents those that are different from the norm, a character still relevant in today’s culture. He is an archetype of those that are looked down upon as different. He signifies those that look and/or think uniquely. Bernard is the outcast who longs to belong. Bernard is pretty high up in the social system in Brave New World. He is an Alpha Plus at the top of the caste system and he works in the Psychology Bureau as a specialist on hypnopaedia.
Bernard, though, is flawed according to his culture on the inside and out. “’He’s so ugly!’…’And then so small.’ Fanny made a grimace; smallness was so horribly and typically low-caste’” (46). Bernard’s looks pushed him to be an outsider. His physical insufficiencies cause him to be different mentally.
The way that he thinks and acts is different then that of the cultural norm. “’They say he doesn’t like Obstacle Golf.’…’And then he spends most of his time by himself – alone’” (44). The way that Bernard acts is so different then everyone else in the world in which he lives. In Brave New World being alone is a rare occurrence, and sports are something that everyone participates in. Bernard also thinks of women and relationships differently. Though promiscuity is a normalcy in Brave New World, Bernard sees relationships as a personal thing and does not think of a woman as someone to just have. “’Talking about her as though she were a bit of meat.’ Bernard ground his teeth. ‘Have her here, have her there. Like mutton. Degrading her to so much mutton’” (45). Bernard gets angry hearing others talking so casually about sexual relations with a woman.
Bernard goes against the grain in the way he looks, acts and thinks. He does not follow the cultural standard and is therefore despised and teased, and is labeled a freak.
Huxley uses this freak character, Bernard, to show that even in a supposed perfect world not everyone is flawless. Bernard’s imperfections are more noticeable because one of them is physical. But there are other characters in Brave New World that have flaws in their personality, too. Huxley is trying to point out that there can’t be a utopia because imperfections can’t be wiped out completely. In Brave New World the society is suppose to be an utopian society, yet there are these people, such a Bernard, who have flaws.
The idealogy that Bernard’s character represents is still relevant in today’s less-than-utopian culture. In fact, Bernard’s character represents most of the people in today’s culture. No one is perfect physically or mentally. Everyone has some kind of flaw. Not everyone thinks alike. Everyone has his own thoughts and ideas. But despite this, everyone still wants to feel like he belongs. Another characteristic of Bernard that is exhibited in today’s world is the goal of acceptance. People want to be liked and feel like they belong. That is Bernard’s whole ambition. He has felt disrespected and belittled his whole life. When John comes into the picture, it’s his instant ticket to fame. When this ticket is suddenly snatched away, Bernard still does everything he can to belong. “’Send me to an island?’…’You can’t send me to an island. I haven’t done anything’” (232). Bernard doesn’t want to be separated from the world he’s so desperately tried to be a part of.
Bernard Marx is a social outcast in the novel Brave New World. He does not fit into what his society deemed normal. In making Bernard flawed, Huxley expresses his view of utopia as unattainable while also allowing the reader to relate to the imperfections of humans.
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