Why is the Director angry after telling Bernard about his visit to the Savage Reservation in Brave New World?

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The Director is angry because in telling Bernard about his visit to the Savage Reservation he gives away what he believes is a "discreditable secret." He had, years and years ago, left behind a woman who got lost while visiting the Reservation with him. He reveals, though he tries to...

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The Director is angry because in telling Bernard about his visit to the Savage Reservation he gives away what he believes is a "discreditable secret." He had, years and years ago, left behind a woman who got lost while visiting the Reservation with him. He reveals, though he tries to deny it, the worst part of the episode: he had an emotional attachment to her.

Because the Director has given away this secret, Bernard is able to put two and two together when he meets Linda and John on the Savage Reservation. When he hears Linda's story, Bernard realizes that John is the Director's son. This will become highly embarrassing to the Director when Bernard brings the twosome home with him to the World State. Not only will Linda, now hideous after her years away, fling herself at the Director, John will humiliate him even more thoroughly by calling him "father." This is a shameful term in the World State, where babies are conceived antiseptically in an laboratory.

The text provides this comic vignette:

He [John the Savage] came in at once, paused for a moment just inside the door, looked round, then soft on his moccasined feet strode quickly across the room, fell on his knees in front of the Director, and said in a clear voice: “My father!”

The word (for “father” was not so much obscene as—with its connotation of something at one remove from the loathsomeness and moral obliquity of childbearing—merely gross, a scatological rather than a pornographic impropriety); the comically smutty word relieved what had become a quite intolerable tension. Laughter broke out, enormous, almost hysterical, peal after peal, as though it would never stop.

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The Director was angry because he realized that he had divulged his secret to Bernard. He tried to downplay his attachment to the lady he took for a visit to the reservation where she disappeared.

“Don’t imagine,” he said, “that I’d had any indecorous relation with the girl. Nothing emotional, nothing long-drawn. It was all perfectly healthy and normal.” He handed Bernard the permit. “I really don’t know why I bored you with this trivial anecdote.” Furious with himself for having given away a discreditable secret, he vented his rage on Bernard.


Bernard approached the Director so he could authorize his trip to the Savage Reservation. The Director did not notice the aim of the permit until he signed it. Bernard’s request to visit the reservation brought back sad memories that the Director had bottled up. The Director told Bernard about how he once took a lady to the reservation where she got lost. He had to leave her there after all attempts to trace her were unsuccessful. He was emotional as he narrated his story which implied that he was strongly attached to the lady and that the events continued to trouble him years later.

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