Why doesn't Bernard help the Savage?In chapter 15 of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The incidents in Chapter 15 of Brave New World are significant ones that point to the hypocrisy that exists in Bernard's character.  When Bernard receives a phone call from the Sub-Bursar, he and Helmholtz rush to the Park Lane Hospital where they see that John the Savage encourages the multitude of Deltas to stop taking the soma, which he says poisons them.  Helmholtz rushes to John, but Bernard pretends that he is helping by calling for the police; he does not want to risk getting involved with a controversial situation.  But, when Helmhotz reaches John, he assists him.

"They're done for," said Bernard and, urged by a sudden impulse, ran forward to help them; then thought better of it and halted; then, ashamed, stepped for ward again; then again thought better of it, and was standing in an agony of humiliated indecision--thinking that they might be killed if he didn't help them, and he might be killed if he did, when....

Bernard, for all his boasting and his condemnation of the society, is pusillanimous and lacks the fortitude and conviction of Helmholtz.  As he shouts for help when the policemen arrive, one of them, annoyed, shoots Bernard with the water pistol.  Bernard wombles and tumbles ignominiously is a heap on the floor.  Then, when the Sergeant asks John and Helmholtz if they will come quietly, John says he will and Helmhotz, holding a handerchief to his bloody nose, nods his assent; Bernard attempts to sidle away, but the Sergeant hurries to him.  Bernard feigns suprise,

"Though what on earth you want me for," he said to the Sergeant, "I really can't imagine."  

This behavior of Bernard indicates his weakness as a character as well as foreshadowing his weakness later when he is brought before Mustapha Mond.  Certainly, if the savage has observed Bernard, he knows what kind of man Bernard Marx truly is.

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