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In Brave New World, how does Bernard redeem himself when he says: "I want to look at...

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seerboldly | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted November 9, 2013 at 3:59 AM via web

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In Brave New World, how does Bernard redeem himself when he says: "I want to look at the sea in peace….it makes me feel as though... I were more me"?

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

Posted November 9, 2013 at 7:01 AM (Answer #1)

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Bernard redeems himself in Chapter Six when he says these words by showing just how different he is from everybody else around him. Lenina starts the chapter by thinking just how "odd" Bernard is, and what he says about wanting to look at the sea and his reasons for doing so certainly confirms just how out of sync Bernard is as a character with the rest of the population of this brave new world. Note what he goes on to say about how he feels when he looks at the sea. When Lenina protests and says she doesn't want to look at the sea, he replies:

"But I do," he insisted. "It makes me feel as though…" he hesitated, searching for words with which to express himself, "as though I were more me, if you see what I mean. More on my own, not so completely a part of something else. Not just a cell in the social body. Doesn't it make you feel like that, Lenina?"

What differentiates Bernard from everybody else is that, for him, he has a desire to explore and rejoice in his own identity as an individual. This is of course anathema for Lenina and everybody else, who are built and conditioned to be profoundly social beings. The dominant view is shown by Lenina when she responds by arguing that Bernard could not possibly want to be "part of the social body" and when she repeats the slogan "Everyone works for everybody else." She finds the prospect of being by herself and looking at the immense sea frankly terrifying, and it is enough to make her hysterical. Bernard is a character therefore who redeems himself through this section of the novel by showing very clearly that he is obviously slightly different from everybody else, and also that he defines himself and seeks to define himself as an individual in a world that is build on corporate togetherness.

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