From Chapter 6 of Brave New World, support the assertion that Bernard's protest is more talk than action, and what is Helmholtz's reaqction?What is Helmholt'z reaction to his friend's description...

From Chapter 6 of Brave New World, support the assertion that Bernard's protest is more talk than action, and what is Helmholtz's reaqction?

What is Helmholt'z reaction to his friend's description of the encounter with the director regarding talk vs. action?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Lenina is out with Bernard, he objects to playing Electromagnetic Golf at St. Andrew's, he wants to be alone with her rather than at the wrestling championship, and he wishes to contemplate the beauty of the sea and the moon with only her--all actions against his conditioning.  However, despite his grumblings, he accompanies Lenina to the soma bar at the Women's Wrestling Championship, and, back in their rooms,

Bernard swallowed four tablet of soma at a gulp, turned on the radio and television and began to undress.

The next day Bernard regrets that they have ended the day in bed, saying that he wanted to "try the effect of arresting my impulses" because he wants to feell something "strongly," Lenina is again confused.

After Bernard has gone to the Director with his permission slip to allow him to travel to the Reservation with Lena, Bernard boasts of his having responded to the Director's chastisement regarding his infantile behavior with Lenina.  He tells Helmholtz,

'I simply told him to go to the Bottomless Past and marched out of the room.  And that was that."

Helmhotlz, however, fails to award Bernard with the expected sympathy and encouragement.  Instead, Helmhotlz sits silently, regretting Bernardo's falsity and bravado.  He finds Bernard's havit of being bold after the event.  As he stares at the floor, Bernard blushes and turns away.

Then, after Bernard and Lenina travel to the Reservations, Bernard suddenly remembers that he has left his Eau de Cologne tap running, so he rushes to call his friend Helmholtz.  When he can finally call his friend, Helmholtz informs him that the director has said in public that Bernard is going to be sent to Iceland.  His bravado wilts:

Now that it looked as though the threats were really to be fulfilled, Bernard was appalled.  Of that imagined stoicim, that theoretical courage, not a trace was left.  He takes two grammes of soma.

In this chapter, a pattern of Bernard's behavior emerges as he projects his deep-seated feelings of rejection and inadequacy onto someone else.  After his confrontations, he does not take action; instead, he consumes soma, escapes into sleep, rejecting the beauty of nature that he professes to enjoy.  Clearly, Bernard is not the romantic Byronic hero, one buffeted by the constraints of society, that he imagines himself.