Brave New World Chapter 4 Summary and Analysis
by Aldous Huxley

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Chapter 4 Summary and Analysis

In the lift (elevator), Lenina runs into Bernard and several other men, including Benito Hoover, a man she used to date. To Benito's great astonishment, Lenina asks Bernard if his offer to take her on vacation still stands. Bernard, flustered and self-conscious, asks if they can speak about this in private, but implicitly agrees when she tells him to call him. Lenina then goes to meet Henry, who picks her up in his helicopter and takes her to Stoke Poges Club House to play Obstacle Golf. On the way they see groups of Gammas boarding a tram. Lenina's last words in this chapter are, "I'm glad I'm not a Gamma" (a prejudice drilled into her by sleep teaching).

Bernard goes home, feeling distressed and insecure after his encounter with Lenina. He's rude to his Delta-minus servants, whose presence reminds him that he's physically inferior to most of the other Alphas. He's short, thin, often antisocial, and sometimes ill-tempered, and often rejected by women he asks out because of it. Irritated, he takes a helicopter out and goes to see his good friend Helmholtz, a lecturer at the College of Emotional Engineering, where he writes feelies and some musical scores.

Helmholtz, like Bernard, feels like an outsider—though for different reasons. Bernard's physique has made it difficult for him to relate to members of his own caste, whereas Helmholtz's abilities as a writer and artist have separated him from his colleagues and fellow artists, who feel that he's "a little too able," meaning too talented, given that their talent is strictly engineered. Because he's talented and because he feels that being a great lover, a champion Elevator Squash player, and an all-around success means nothing, he has become melancholy. He wants to make great art, but there is no great material in this tightly controlled world. He has nothing new to write about. Still, he's unable to completely commiserate with Bernard, whom he finds a little pathetic. Part 2 ends with Helmholtz wishing Bernard would "show a little more pride."

Simile

Huxley uses a simile when he compares a group of Gamma girls to "aphides and ants" crowding around the monorail cars, attempting to board it. This simile diminishes the people in the crowd, stripping them of their individuality and turning them into a large, swarming mass. There's also a strong implication that the lower classes are insects and that they can be easily crushed.

Themes

Anxiety. More than anything, what separates Bernard from the other Alphas is his anxiety, which makes it difficult for him to engage with them according to their social standards of behavior. He isn't like them in the sense that he isn't carefree, doesn't have a robust sex life, and can't interact in an easy and unselfconscious manner. This separates him from others and adds to his feelings of isolation.

Art.  Though Mustapha Mond made it very clear in the last chapter that history (and, with it, classical and modern art) had been destroyed, new...

(The entire section is 741 words.)