Compare and contrast the characters of Bernard Marx and Helmholtz Watson in Brave New World.

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pohnpei397's profile pic

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These two characters are similar in that they are both unhappy with the society in which they live.  They are different, however, because Helmholtz's unhappiness is more principled than Bernard's.

Bernard is unhappy because he can't get into society.  Society rejects him because of his looks and so he is not popular.  When Bernard gets the chance because of John the Savage, he takes it and acts in the way society expects him to.

Helmholtz is unhappy because he dislikes the restrictions society puts on his thoughts and his expression.  He is the perfect physical specimen and can easily be accepted by society.  Yet he rejects the society because of his principles.  When Helmholtz is going to be exiled, he accepts his fate willingly because he truly dislikes the society.  Bernard, by contrast, hates the idea of being exiled.

So both men dislike their society, but Helmholtz's objections are much more principled than Bernard's.

thetall's profile pic

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Bernard and Helmholtz are similar in that they both feel distressed within their societies, but their difference comes in how they feel the distress. Bernard fights for acceptance by the community while Helmholtz does not really want to belong in that particular community. They both express their criticism towards the World State and its operations. They both are unable to fit within their social positions.

The difference between them is that Bernard is weak, unattractive and not as intelligent. Helmholtz is the perfect society’s perfect human specimen; he is strong, attractive, and very intelligent. Bernard is shallow and he is in pursuit of popularity within his community as seen when he takes full advantage to live the popular life after coming back with John the savage. Helmholtz is not bothered about popularity or the society’s standards and instead thinks those standards are vain.


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