In Brave New World, what is Bernard Marx's attitude toward the World State?

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D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Bernard Marx has ambivalent feelings about the World State. As an Alpha-plus, he has the intelligence to see the problems with the mass conditioning and superficial pleasures his society offers. He sometimes longs to be alone, which is considered socially deviant in his culture. He frightens Lenina by hovering alone over the sea with her in his helicopter. He longs for deeper experiences than his society provides, which is why he want to go to the reservation. He is short for an Alpha, and this makes him feel awkward at times.

All the same, he is product of his culture and has been conditioned to be adapted to it. This makes him appreciate the praise and celebrity he garners when he comes home with John the Savage. It also makes it difficult for him to fully understand John's problems with the culture or his need to withdraw from it.

In the end, Marx is so intelligent that he proves a misfit, and Mond does him the favor of exiling him to a remote island where he can have more freedom to live unconventionally.

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Initially, Bernard Marx has a negative view of the World State because he is treated like an outcast and does not enjoy the advantages of being a privileged Alpha-Plus. Bernard is significantly shorter than the other Alpha-Plus males and is not considered attractive. Many people ridicule him, spreading rumors that alcohol was accidentally spilled in his blood-surrogate, and women do not gravitate toward him like they do everyone else. Essentially, Bernard feels inferior and believes that the manufactured society of the World State has failed him. Bernard does not experience the life that was originally intended for him and completely rejects the popular culture. He refuses to take soma, does not enjoy meaningless entertainment, and feels uncomfortable during ritual ceremonies involving sex.

Despite Bernard's loneliness, rejection of the popular culture, and unfortunate position in the World State, he comes to embrace society once he returns home from the Savage Reservation with John. As John's caretaker, Bernard enjoys his newfound celebrity and thrives as a popular Alpha-Plus in the World State. Once Bernard begins to experiences the advantages of the World State's society, he relishes the free, uninhibited sexual customs and enjoys his new celebrity status. However, Bernard's celebrity status does not last long, and he is eventually banished from the World State.

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Bernard Marx's attitude towards the World State is very negative -- he hates the expectations that his society has for him.  For example, we know that he does not like the casual sex in their society and we see that he is very ill at ease during the Solidarity Services.  He does not like the rules of the society and that makes him have a very negative attitude towards the society and the government that controls it.

It is not completely clear why Bernard feels this way.  However, it seems likely that his attitude is caused in part by his size.  He is smaller (shorter and skinnier) than the typical Alpha.  He looks more like a lower caste person.  This might make him resent the World State in general because he feels like he does not fit in.

It's also important to realize, however, that Bernard wants to be part of the society.  When he brings John back to England, Bernard becomes a major celebrity.  When this happens, he tries to take advantage of it and lives according to the rules of the society -- sex with lots of women, hanging out with the important people, etc.

So Bernard has a very negative attitude, but it seems that it might be partly because society has rejected him.  He seems to want to become part of the society if he can find a way to make society accept him.

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