How is Bernard Marx different from his associates in Brave New World?  

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yaday eNotes educator| Certified Educator

How is Bernard Marx different from his associates in Brave New World?

Bernard Marx, though an Alpha elite, in the novel Brave New World is unique because he is an individual who is ostracized because of his physical attributes, and his contemplative attitude.   

We learn that Bernard Marx is stunted in growth because during the hatchery process, alcohol was added to his blood-surrogate.  Ironically, his "odd" stature makes him attractive to Lenina.  

Bernard is unique because he appreciates the beauty of the world.  When he and Lenina are on the roof in Chapter 4, Bernard "drew a deep breath. He looked up into the sky and round the blue horizon and finally down into Lenina's face"(Chapter 4).  In a way, Bernard almost has a moment of transcendence.  He is aware of his surroundings and makes a connection to the natural world unlike Lenina who mentions how it is "simply perfect for Obstacle Golf."  

Also, Bernard does not take part or believe in the casual sex atmosphere that is promoted so heavily in the New World. While overhearing his colleagues speak of Lenina Crowne and "having her," Bernard thinks,"Talking about her as though she were a bit of meat"(Chapter 3).   Here is, possibly, the author's personal views on relationships and how he despises the non-emotional/physical relationships that do exist in the world.   

Lastly, Bernard's "unique" approaches to life in the New World, eventually, places him on the radar of the administrators who threaten to banish him to Iceland.  Also, Helmholtz Watson, a professor of writing, is the outgoing, accepted version of Bernard - almost like a character foil.     

teachersage eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Brave New World, the five social castes or classes are carefully genetically engineered. Each class is assigned preset attributes. One of these is height. Alphas, the most intelligent class and the leaders of society, are engineered to be the tallest. Height then descends progressively downward, with the lowest caste being the shortest and darkest. 

Although an Alpha-plus, Marx is short for his caste. This is attributed to an accident at his test-tube conception. Whatever the reason, he is evidence that the World State does not do everything perfectly. But more importantly, his short stature leaves him feeling insecure and inferior. He therefore feels different from his peers, a dangerous sentiment in a society in which conformity is all important.

Marx is different too in that he values solitude, something people in his culture have been conditioned to fear and dread. For instance, he deliberately hovers his helicopter over the churning surf, slightly away from civilization, to experience the unmediated beauty of nature. This frightens and upsets Lenina, who is with him. 

Marx is more intelligent and more questioning than others in his culture. He perceives the limitations and shallowness of his society. This leads to his eventual exile to a faraway island, and we have reason to believe he will end up happier here than if he had stayed in the center of his civilization. 

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Bernard is different from his associates both physically and in his thinking.

Physically, Bernard is not like other high-caste men even though he is an Alpha Plus.  This makes him the subject of rumors.  It is even said that there was a mistake made and alcohol put in his blood-surrogate when he was in the bottle. 

Bernard also has different sorts of thoughts than the average person in his society.  He dislikes Obstacle Golf.  He likes to be alone.  He is not as interested in casual sex in the way that people in the society are supposed to be.

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Brave New World

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