What does Helmholtz mean when he says "It's not enough for the phrases to be good" in Chapter 4?nothing

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In this chapter, Helmholtz Watson is showing the first signs of wanting to rebel against the way the society is.

His work is in emotional engineering.  He is supposed to make up rhymes and such to teach people the lessons that the society wants them to learn.  He is good at his job.

But he is starting to think that it is not enough.  He says that he wants to have a good purpose to what he is doing.  He says the phrases can only be good if their goal is good too.  He wants his writing to have a purpose.  Later on, we will see him figure out what the purpose is when he is exposed to Shakespeare.

"I'm pretty good at inventing phrases–you know, the sort of words that suddenly make you jump, almost as though you'd sat on a pin, they seem so new and exciting even though they're about something hypnopædically obvious. But that doesn't seem enough. It's not enough for the phrases to be good; what you make with them ought to be good too."