In Chapter 16 of Brave New World, how does Bernard respond when told he will go to Iceland?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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It is actually rather interesting how this is introduced into the discussion that Mustapha Mond has with John, Helmholtz and Bernard. When he talks about his own youthful act of rebellion and how he didn't fit into the society of the novel, he says that he was nearly going to suffer the same fate that Bernard will suffer. This is enough to reduce Bernard to a paroxysm of grief and outrage. Note what he says in response:

You can't send me. I haven't done anything. It was the others. I swear it was the others... Oh, please don't send me to Iceland. I promise I'll do what I ought to do. Give me another chance. Please give me another chance.

We are told that he threw himself down upon the knees of Mond, in a "paroxysm of abjection." We can see from this response that Bernard is less than thrilled about his imminent removal to Iceland. This indicates that although he didn't necessarily fit in his society, at the same time, he lacks the true desire that Helmholtz possesses to explore and discover and find a new way of living. Bernard is shown to be a character that is rather limited and just wants to selfishly make the most of the prestige that knowing John gives him to bed as many women as possible. This is why the thought of a life away from soma and the permissive sexual nature of his society fills him with terror.

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