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What are physical descriptions of the characters of Lenina Crowne and Hemholtz Watson...

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mwo15 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 9, 2012 at 8:26 PM via web

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What are physical descriptions of the characters of Lenina Crowne and Hemholtz Watson from Brave New World

I have searched in the book and I just cannot find a physical description of either of them.

Any help would be appreciated.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 10, 2012 at 3:06 AM (Answer #1)

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In Aldous Huxley's Brave New World,  none of the characters are described in the detail that is characteristic of many authors. This is done, perhaps, to suggest the lack of humanity that they possess. For instance, little is written of Helmholtz Watson's physical appearance, Rather, he is described as the mental counterpart of Bernard Marx, his friend.  Whereas Bernard is characterized by a physical defect, Helmholtz possesses a "mental excess." In Chapter 4, Part 2, he is described,

That which had made Helmholtz so uncomfortably aware of being himself and all alone was too much ability....This Escalator-Squash champion, this defatigable lover...was interested in something else.

By his attractiveness to women, it is suggested, but not stated, that Helmholtz is good-looking. Rather than being concerned about his looks, however, Helmholz feels that he has something inside himself that is "only waiting for...a chance to come out."

Lenina is first described in Chapter 3 as Henry Foster talks with the Assistant Predestinator,

"Lenina Crowne?....Oh, she's a splendid girl.  Wonderfully pneumatic...."

The word pneumatic suggests air, so Lenina is soft and perhaps even a bit vacuous mentally. Later, in Part 3 of Chapter 6 she is described as having "large blue eyes." Then in Chapter 9 as John the Savage discovers Lenina, and his heart beats wildly, he is "enchanted" by her beauty:

There...lay Lenina, fast asleep and so beautiful in the midst of her curls, so touchingly childish with her pink toes....

Further in Chapter 13, when Lenina offers herself to John, he rebuffs her and strikes at her; once alone she looks in a mirror at the imprint of his hand on her "pearly flesh." Then, in Chapter 18 as Lenina approaches John with an "abject smile," distressed and lovesick, she is described as having "a doll-beautiful face" with "blue eyes" that seem to "grow larger, brighter."There is a lack of humanity inthe description of her appearance here as John rejects her.

Helmholtz and Lenina are not clearly drawn because they are meant to support main characters such as Bernard Marx and John the Savage; for, by their juxtaposition with these characters, the others are better developed.

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