Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Bernard Marx, a citizen of the world in the year 632 a.f. (After Ford), a world in which individuality has long been forgotten, a world dehumanized and organized around the motto “Community, Identity, Stability.” Marx, born of a “prenatal bottle” instead of woman, is an anomaly in the community because too much alcohol got into his blood surrogate while he was incubating before birth. He has sensibilities, therefore, similar to those of people living during the time of Henry Ford. Marx conducts an experiment that fails: By studying a savage named John, whom he brings to the new culture, he learns that human emotions produce only tragedy in the brave new world.
Lenina Crowne, an Alpha worker in The Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Center, who is interested in Marx. She was predestined to her class, as were all citizens of the community, for, depending upon the community work to be done, citizens may come from the bottles as Alpha Plus Intellectuals all the way down through Epsilon Minus Morons. Lenina helps Marx with the experiment, falls in love with the savage, and is whipped to death by him when he attacks her in a fit of passion.
Thomakin, the director of Hatcheries, who years before had abandoned a woman he had taken with him on vacation to the Savage Reservation, a wild tract in New Mexico preserved by...
(The entire section is 357 words.)
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Bernard Marx is the main protagonist in the beginning of the novel, and he is destined for trouble—just as the Director finishes explaining the World State’s successful elimination of desire and its negative effects on citizens, Huxley presents us with Bernard’s thoughts, and his dilemma—he personifies everything the World State has supposedly suppressed in his lovesick, jealous, and angry inner tirade against anyone who would “have” Lenina, denying him his chance. Bernard is hardly a traditional hero figure, but that’s why he is so valuable to the story and to Huxley—he represents negative, perhaps even self-destructive, human values in a world that is growing increasingly less human.
Bernard doesn’t change, but his fortunes do after he visits the Reservation and discovers John, himself a powerful symbol of humanity. Bernard takes advantage of his new status to indulge in activities he previously criticized publicly but craves personally, particularly sex. Like many critics, Bernard desperately wants to be the very things he criticizes. Huxley may be taking a dig at literary critics of his time, many of whom were (and still are) characterized as frustrated writers.
When John refuses to greet guests at one of Bernard's parties, Bernard's success evaporates. By continuing to criticize the World State while still an active participant in its "pleasant vices," Bernard shows that he is a hypocrite. John and Helmholtz feel sorry for him because they agree that the World State needs criticizing, and they seem to understand that he is trapped in a body that is “unfit” for society; still, they have no respect for him because he refuses to acknowledge his own failings. Lenina sees him merely as an odd but somewhat intriguing man who offers her a distraction from her relationship with Henry Foster. She is happy to use him for her own social ambitions, but John is the one she really cares for.
Once he is exiled Bernard is of little use to the story, so he simply disappears to the island. Huxley may be doing more than “writing out” a character he no longer needs; in exiling Bernard he is exiling a more “socially trained” form of desire, one that can work within the confines of the World State. In the end, it is fair to assume that a great deal of John’s strength really came from his relationship with Bernard, his “guide.”
(The entire section is 1187 words.)
Bernard Marx is the central character of the Brave New World. He is a man who has been given all of the best that this new world has to offer and for the most part he has accepted those gifts unthinkingly. With his girlfriend, Lenina, a conventionally proper girl also of his rank and class, he has been living a conventionally happy life. But one day he begins to question the social structures and class arrangement of his world, and on a trip to a remote part of the country, outside the control of the state to which he belongs, Bernard discovers a wholly different culture; one populated by people untouched by the modern advancements enjoyed by himself and Lenina. Through the Savage, an inhabitant of this nether world, he learns of alternate ways of life, ways he finds attractive. On return to his own world, the Savage in tow, Bernard continues to think antisocial thoughts, ideas which drive Lenina to break with him and to take increasing doses of intellectually and emotionally deadening drugs.
Bernard's ideas begin to infect his friends and colleagues until, he is shipped off to the remote Falkland Islands to join other dissidents who apparently are also beyond redemption or at least reprogramming. The Savage, left behind and increasingly bewildered by the values and society of the brave new world, is driven inexorably to suicide.
The character of the Savage, who is the unacknowledged son of the chief controller of the society, Sir...
(The entire section is 368 words.)
See Mustapha Mond
Like her coworker, Lenina Crowne, Fanny is a nineteen-year-old Beta. Though she shares Lenina’s last name and is genetically related to her, she is just a friend. Family connections have no meaning in civilization. Her character is never really developed, serving only as a foil to contrast society’s values—which she accepts completely—with Lenina’s unconventional behavior.
Lenina Crowne is, like Linda, a Beta. Young and beautiful, she has auburn hair and blue eyes; however, she also suffers from the immune system disorder lupus, which causes skin lesions. Employed at the Embryo Room of the Hatchery, Lenina is a shallow person, completely accepting the values of her society without question. However, part of her longs to form a lasting relationship with one man, a desire that is considered ugly and dirty in a society that believes promiscuity is healthy. For this reason, while she is attracted to Henry Foster, she chooses to date Bernard Marx, too. Bernard is a little unusual because he is discontented, and she finds this attractive in spite of herself and in spite of the warnings from her friend Fanny to stay away from him. When she meets John the Savage, she feels tremendous sexual attraction to him, but she has been taught to look down upon love, passion, and commitment. Unable to escape her conditioning, she...
(The entire section is 2073 words.)