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The answer to this question can be found in Chapter 12 of this excellent dystopian novel. Bernard has organised a big reception to present "the Savage," otherwise known as John, to the upper-castes of his society. He is doing this to continue to try to raise his popularity in his society. Because of his friendship and associations with John he has suddenly found a new popularity - women invite him to their bed and any talk of his inferiority is forgotten because of his relationship with John. Thus by trying to have this reception Bernard is attempting to continue to promote his own social standing. However, even though "the Arch-Community-Songster of Canterbury" has attended the reception, John decides not to attend, which is the action which triggers the start of Bernard's downfall:
In the end Bernard had to slink back, diminished, to his rooms and inform the impatient assembly that the Savage would not be appearing that evening. The news was received with indignation. The men were furious at having been tricked into behaving politely to this insignificant fellow with the unsavoury reputation and the heretical opinions. The higher their position in the hierarchy, the deeper their resentment.
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