What common qualities and differences do Bernard Marx and John the Savage share in Brave New World?

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There are a few similarities and differences between John the Savage and Bernard Marx. While John and Bernard are both dissatisfied with the World State, Bernard is willing to live miserably within its confines. He is more dissatisfied with his place in the society than the society itself. John is unable to find satisfaction at all, eventually killing himself rather than be consumed by the totalitarian state.

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One might assume John the Savage and Bernard Marx would get along well. Both hate the shallow hedonism of the World State, particularly in regards to art and love. When his co-workers talk about going to the "feelies," Bernard regards their excitement with contempt since the feelies are only interested in recreating sensual delights and sexual fantasies rather than telling a story. He also longs for Lenina in a romantic way, which is a taboo sentiment in a society opposed to monogamy.

John the Savage was raised outside of the World State, so he reveres concepts such as monogamy or the art of exalted writers such as Shakespeare. When he encounters mainstream society, he is both fascinated and horrified. One might expect that Bernard would bond with John and grow stronger in his own countercultural convictions, but instead, Bernard's sudden popularity (which comes about because he is the one to bring John out from the reservation, giving people a curiosity to examine) inspires him to embrace the hedonistic culture he so despised. He indulges in soma and free love, while John sticks to his principles.

John ultimately kills himself the moment he breaks his own moral code. He participates in the final orgy, maddened with passion from his anger and repressed desire for Lenina. Horrified by his loss of control, he ends his life. Bernard continues to live, though he does so with shame.

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Both Bernard and John are dissatisfied with life in the carefully constructed World State (or brave new world) where everyone is conditioned to be happy, or, if not happy, to be dependent on soma. Everyone is also programmed to be busy and social all the time while never forming deep attachments. Bernard, however, likes to stop and look at the blue sky while Lenina and other "better adjusted" people simply want to rush onward to the next activity.

Like Bernard, John has a capacity for appreciating the beauty of the world. Also like Bernard, he is a misfit in his society. Bernard is too short for an Alpha and is barely tolerated. John is a misfit on the Reservation because his mother is from the World State, and she is considered a whore; John is thus not entirely Indian. 

Bernard, however, is much more conditioned to accept the World State's morality than John. Bernard participates in orgies without moral qualms, even if he does not like them very much, and does not consider Lenina a "strumpet" for sleeping with other men. He does not embrace pain and suffering as a way to feel alive or to atone for sin (sin is an alien concept to him), and he is surprised and displeased when John drinks a mixture of mustard and water that makes him feel sick in order to "purify" himself. John believes that pain and suffering are necessary to make us fully human, as is art, and religion. Bernard can dispense with pain, suffering and religion.

John cannot tolerate Lenina's sexual mores. He also cannot tolerate life in the World State and kills himself. Bernard is a misfit who we are led to believe will be happier on the islands, but he manages to tolerate his sanitized society.

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At some point Bernard agrees with John on the assertion that “civilized infantility” is very undemanding. He directs this idea to Mond who thinks that Bernard should be punished for such heresy. Both John and Bernard criticize the new world albeit for different reasons.

The difference is seen when Bernard’s criticism is directed at his inability to fit in his social status while John’s criticism is aimed at the civilized world’s values. Bernard is jealous of his peers who are well endowed while John is indifferent and does not measure himself against his peers. John is quite smart given his ability to study Shakespeare and even use his works to express his emotions and feelings. On the other hand, Bernard is not as intelligent. Bernard is shallow as seen when he welcomes his new popular status and even becomes more accepting of the society while John in his disdain for the same society commits suicide.

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I do not think that these two have much in common.  Bernard and John are both at least somewhat dissatisfied with the brave new world, but I am not sure that Bernard's dissatisfaction is real.

Look what happens when Bernard becomes famous because of John.  He starts to really embrace the society -- he changes his attitude towards sex and towards getting ahead in the society.  I do not think that he is really dissatisfied with the society per se.  Instead, I think he is dissatisfied with his place in the society.

John, on the other hand, really is dissatisfied with the society.  He is more honest than Bernard and more committed to his convictions.  That is why he kills himself while Bernard begs not to be exiled.

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Although they were raised very differently, Bernard Marx and John the Savage are both dissatisfied with the society of the brave new world. What qualities do the characters have in common? How are they different? Compare their strengths and weaknesses.

While Bernard Marx is out with Lenina in a helicopter, he insists on hovering low over the waves for a few minutes. The two of them are all alone with nature. He finds it beautiful. She finds it horrible and unnatural: 

“It makes me feel as though,” he hesitated, searching for words with which to express himself, “as though I were more me, if you see what I mean. More on my own, not so completely a part of something else. Not just a cell in the social body. Doesn’t it make you feel like that, Lenina?”

But Lenina was crying. “It’s horrible, it’s horrible,” she kept repeating. “And how can you talk like that about not wanting to be a part of the social body? 

This crystallizes how Marx is different from the rest of his society. It also shows how he is similar to John the Savage. Both men are seeking something outside of the superficial pleasures offered by the World State. Both have a hunger for the poetic and the individual and for exploring the deeper challenges of life. Both are critics of the World State, which is unusual in that people living there are typically conditioned from babyhood to be happy, unquestioning conformists.

Of course, John differs from Marx in that he never was conditioned. He grew up on the Indian Reservation and internalized the traditional values of that culture, in which female chastity was the norm. Suffering, dirt, pain, and religion were a natural part of life. John's experience of a deeper, more painful level of existence is reinforced by his reading of Shakespeare.

Both men are outsiders. Bernard is small for an Alpha. In his society, the most intelligent caste, the Alpha caste, are the tallest, while the unintelligent worker class, the Epsilons, are the smallest and darkest. As a result, Marx has an inferiority complex and never feels entirely at home in his world. John is an outsider because his mother, Linda, is an outsider on the Reservation. She is considered a whore, and he himself is not an Indian.

Unlike Marx, however, John is not driven by inferiority and vanity, and he has no desire for acceptance in the World State. He only wants to be left alone, and he finally commits suicide to find peace. Marx, on the other hand, has been conditioned all his life to function in the society he now questions, so he does not experience the deep anguish John does. One cannot, for example, imagine Marx beating himself. If Marx's sense of inferiority makes him flawed, John's flaw is in his embrace of too much suffering. Marx accepts exile to a remote island, so he can explore a deeper life, an activity unacceptable in his society. The implication at the end of the novel is that he will find happiness in exile. John can never fit in, as he is too different and too unwilling to change. 

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Although they were raised very differently, Bernard Marx and John the Savage are both dissatisfied with the society of the brave new world. What qualities do the characters have in common? How are they different? Compare their strengths and weaknesses.

For similarities, you can start with the obvious fact that the two of them are free thinkers; they believe that there is something bigger than what is being offered to them in the brave new world.

Neither agrees with the ways of casual sex in the society: Bernard expresses this in the very beginning of the novel when listening to Foster's conversation about Lenina in the men's locker room, and John continually expresses this throughout his tenure in the brave new world, particularly when Lenina throws herself at him and he refuses her.

Both of them seek intellectual stimulation through conversations with Helmholtz.  John has the luxury of having Shakespeare's Complete Works to consult and mull over as well.

For differences: While both John and Bernard are certainly outcasts in their respective societies, contributing to their dissatisfaction, for John, I think it goes a step further because he doesn't fit into the new world, either, whereas Bernard has no aspirations to fit into the savage reservation.

John does not seek acceptance the way that Bernard does and, in fact, looks to isolate himself from this world towards the end of the novel.  In contrast, Bernard does not want to be isolated from this society, despite the seemingly accurate point the Controller makes that Bernard will appreciate being among people like himself moreso than staying there.

I believe that John's attachments are not selfishly motivated.  For example, while Linda is dying, he's by her side and he's connected to her because of his love for her and his sorrow for what the new world has done to her.  Bernard's attachments stem from his own needs, for example, his association with Helmholtz.  When he's an outcast, he and Helmholtz are fast friends.  As soon as society acknowledges him for bringing John back, he drops Helmholtz like a bad habit and seeks acceptance from the masses. When John refuses to come to the party (because, unlike Bernard, he could care less about the opinions of these people towards him and he's tired of being a freakshow exhibition), Bernard is devastated.  He then goes crawling back to Helmholtz, who has actually become close to John but takes him in without apology.

There are many more things to consider about these two men.  The stories they each tell are riveting, and Huxley uses them for some powerful social commentary.  Refer to the eNotes summaries and analyses given for more.  They'll prove quite helpful.

Good luck with it!

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Although they were raised very differently, Bernard Marx and John the Savage are both dissatisfied with the society of the new world. How?

In Aldous Huxley's dystopian novel Brave New World, both protagonists are extremely dissatisfied with the majority society and culture that dominates the planet. 

Bernard Marx, one of the two protagonists, has always lived as a part of the society in question. Unfortunately, he is an outcast; he is rejected by the other Alphas because in a society where conformity is highly prized, he looks and behaves differently from the rest of his peers. Bernard's dissatisfaction comes from the fact that he desperately wants to belong and feel like he is a part of society, but society rejects him. 

John the Savage, the other protagonist, comes to the dominant society from a small minority culture that lives on an isolated reservation. His dissatisfaction with the majority society is a situation of culture clash; John was raised with a certain set of values and principles, most of which are not only rejected by shamed by the society to which Bernard belongs. He finds this society vapid, immoral, and horrible. 

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