Brave New World Questions and Answers
by Aldous Huxley

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How does Bernard feel about soma?

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Thomas Mccord eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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As the previous Educator has noted, Bernard has a negative attitude toward soma. We see this clearly in chapter 4 when Benito offers him some: when Benito takes out his soma bottle, Bernard “suddenly turned and rushed away.” In other words, Bernard is not only disinterested in taking soma but physically turns away from it. He feels a need to distance himself from soma, suggesting a strong dislike of its qualities.

Perhaps the strongest evidence of his negative attitude towards soma comes in chapter 6, when he and Lenin are together and have met some of her friends in an ice-cream soma bar. Bernard is in a particularly bad mood and declares,

"I'd rather be myself," he said. "Myself and nasty. Not somebody else, however jolly."

For Bernard, then, the problem with soma, and his motivation for avoiding it, is that it can affect a person’s identity. He wants to feel the full range of human emotions, both positive and negative, instead of having them dulled by taking soma. He does not care...

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