In Brave New World, why does John refuse to come to the party? What effect does this have on Bernard?

In Brave New World, John refuses to come to the party because after his disappointing date with Lenina, he has become tired of and disgusted by the brave new world and wants only to be alone. Bernard is distraught, as he knows his guests have only come to see John, not him, and his briefly elevated social status falls accordingly.

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When John refuses to come to the party, or even to open the door to Bernard, at the beginning of chapter 12, the only reason he gives for not wanting to attend is that he has always done so before. It is Bernard who raises this point as a reason why he should come, to which John replies,

That’s precisely why I don’t want to come again.

Bernard is not interested in finding out why John does not want to come to the party, only in persuading him to change his mind, since he knows his guests have only come to meet the Savage and will be angered by his absence. The reader, however, will connect John's refusal with his frustrating and disappointing date with Lenina in the previous chapter and his growing disgust with the shallow, ignoble nature of the brave new world. Feeling like this, John is unwilling even to speak to Bernard, let alone a group of dignitaries asking intrusive questions.

John's refusal brings Bernard close to tears. He is compelled "to slink back, diminished, to his rooms and inform the impatient assembly that the Savage would not be appearing that evening." His prediction that the Savage's failure to appear will be poorly received is proved entirely correct, and his social position, artificially inflated by his proximity to John, plummets sharply. His guests are angry and feel they have been tricked into honoring "this insignificant fellow with the unsavoury reputation and the heretical opinions" under false pretenses.

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The party occurs after John's date to the feelies with Lenina. The pornographic feely has upset him—he is dealing with a mix of love and sexual desire for Lenina—and he has become disillusioned with life in the World State.

When Bernard comes to his door to find out why he won't come to the party, John offers several reasons: first, Bernard should have asked if he wanted to come. Second, when Bernard says he's always come before, John says that is why he won't come now. Finally, he tells Bernard to go to hell. We can surmise that John is tired of being shown off like a circus freak and derives no pleasure from these events.

People are disappointed that John is not going to appear at the party. The Arch-Songster accuses Bernard of playing a "joke" on him. Lenina, who had hoped to see John, feels sick and wonders if his absence is due to disliking her. The women call it an outrage. The men feel cheated. Everyone piles on Bernard, who is termed a "wretched little man." All of this deflates his fragile ego.

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By this point in the story, John "The Savage" has brought the previously unpopular Bernard quite a bit of fame and positive attention.  Before John brought Bernard back, Bernard was an unpopular, strange, unattractive, lonely nerd that not many people wanted to be around.  He chose to do things by himself, copped an attitude of surly rebellion to mask his desire to fit in, and had a hard time getting the ladies or being the cool guy.  However, when he brought John back, all of that changed.  John was so unusual, such a novelty, and such a curiosity to people that all of a sudden, Bernard, the guy who brough back a savage, became the "it" boy.  Everyone wanted to invite Bernard places, because that meant that they got a chance to see John also.  They really just wanted to see a glimpse of this rare prehistoric creature, not hang out with Bernard, but, Bernard revels in the attention and fame, soaking it up and living it up while he can.

For this particular party, John doesn't come out because he has become severely disenchanted with the world he's been taken to.  Before, he was curious about it, and held it up in an idolized light.  When he gets here though, he realizes how fake it is, how people aren't truly happy, how people aren't intelligent, and he has serious moral issues with how things are run.  He is tired of being poked at, questioned, studied, and looked at as some sort of historical relic plaything for a bunch of shallow people.  Bernard has dragged him around enough, and he just wants to be alone.  In his civilization, being alone wasn't uncommon, but here, there were always people around.  Plus, the situation with his mother has really upset him also.  So, he refuses to come out, but sulks in his room.

Bernard is furious, but has to save face for his party friends; he goes out and announces that John can't come, and tries to get the party going anyway.  This is when his "friends" show that they don't really care for him at all, and leave.  They utter insults at him on the way out, calling him a low-life, having gotten alcohol in his embryonic blood, and a fraud.  Bernard is left alone, his ego-bubble burst completely, and frustrated at the role that John played in all of it.  I hope that helps; good luck!

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