Describe Bernard's relationship with Lenina in Brave New World

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Since both Bernard and Lenina are somewhat unorthodox in their behaviors for their castes, they are attracted to each other.  For instance, in her conversation with her friend Fanny, Lenina tells her,

"somehow...I hadn't been feeling very keen on promiscuity lately."

But, her friend scolds her, saying that it is not good to be so: "But one's got to make the effort.  Unlike others, Lenina does not wish to go with many men, and she suffers from some emotional feelings.  Likewise, when Bernard wants a meaningful relationship; so, when he overhears Henry Foster speak of Lenina's pneumatic qualities to the Assistant Predestinator, who says he will have to have her at his first opportunity, he turns pale with emotion.

With these emotional urgings, Bernard and Lenina get together; however, Bernard is disappointed that Lenina does not wish to enjoy the beauty of nature and solitude with him on their first evening together.  Instead, she views the night as perfect for Obstacle Golf, a consumer game. And, when Lenina behaves in this way typical of those in the New World, Bernard becomes melancholy, for in Lenina he seeks someone who is also different since he, short and emotional, is not typical for his caste.

On the next date, Bernard childishly wishes to express his individuality by being "Myself and nasty.  Not somebody else, however jolly" when Lenina offers him a glass with soma, reciting " A gramme in time saves nine." So, while he has hoped in stopping to look at the moon that they would be "more together...with nothing but the sea and moon," Lenina is horrified by nature, instead reciting verses of hypnopoedic nonsense  while Bernard bemoans his enslavement by his conditioning.

Disappointed in Lenina's responses to his acts of individualism, Bernard, nevertheless, invites her to travel to the New Mexican Reservation.  But, bewildered by all that she confronts, Lenina retreats into a soma dream; in fact, even Bernard takes soma when he learns that he has been ordered to Iceland.  Once they return to the New World with John the Savage, Bernard becomes a hypocrite, participating in all that he formerly criticized.  He uses John to advance his position with the Director and others while Lenina is more perplexed by his behavior and begins to focus on John, someone new and different, since Bernard, whom she has found somewhat intriguing, has  been more a diversion for her from Henry Foster than anything else.  Clearly, Lenina is bound by her conditioning while Bernard lacks the courage to be truly authentic.