Compare and contrast the characters of Bernard Marx and Helmholtz Watson in Brave New World.

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Both men are in some sense rebels, disbelievers in the ethic of the Society. Helmholtz, however, is more of a rebel by choice than Bernard, who seems at times to have had the character of a subversive imposed upon him by circumstances.

Much is made throughout the story of Bernard's unusual and unimposing appearance. The planned hierarchical nature of the Society is based largely upon intelligence, with the Alphas having the highest IQ's and the Epsilons the lowest. But there is also a physical dimension to the Society's eugenics program. If we especially consider how much of their thinking revolves around sex, the physical perfection of their "products"—human beings—is a component of their planning. Bernard is short and unattractive, in spite of being an Alpha-plus. People speculate that in his case something went wrong with the normal in vitro process, resulting in the stunting of his growth or the cause of some other defect.

Bernard is thus the Other (rivaling the status of John, the...

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on January 5, 2020
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