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

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andrea2970 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 2, 2011 at 10:47 AM via web

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

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 23, 2011 at 11:39 PM (Answer #1)

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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.

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