Why are Bernard Marx and Helmholtz Watson expelled from civilization in Brave New World?

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Bernard and Helmholtz are expelled from society and sent to live on an island for two, twin reasons. Primarily, they joined the Savage in fomenting a rebellion and disturbing the peace. Contributing to that act, both Bernard and Helmholtz are unable to adjust their dispositions properly to the life and manners of their society. They are fundamentally at odds with the happy conformity expected of them. 

"The New World standards of conformity discourage mental and emotional freedom. Those who rebel against the established order are rehabilitated with drugs or exiled" (eNotes).

While they are not as bold or as enraged as the Savage, both Bernard and Helmholtz stand against the values and norms of the society. 

In the discussion between Helmholtz and the World Controller, Helmholtz demonstrates his romantic preferences. When asked where he would like to be exiled, Helmholtz does not choose a happy or pleasant place, as any normal person from his society would. 

"Helmholtz rose from his pneumatic chair. 'I should like a thoroughly bad climate,' he answered. 'I believe one would write better if the climate were bad. If there were a lot of wind and storms, for example...'"

In this proclamation, Helmholtz opts for inspiration over ease, a concept foreign to his peers and anathema to the morals of his society. 

Thus, the discontent that characterizes Helmholtz and Bernard can be identified as the underlying factor that leads to their exile. On the surface, however, the two are brought in to talk with the Controller because of the role they played in helping the Savage to destroy soma meant to be distributed to the working class and, in doing so, incite a near-riot.

The society of this future is predicated on ideas of stability and figures like Helmholtz and Bernard do not contribute to stability and, in fact, undermine it.

Perhaps, the Romantic ideals of Helmholtz to experience nature and inspiration represent the ebullience of human nature, rising up despite all social forces that would inhibit its expression. And perhaps the discontent of Bernard suggests that even in a society where everyone is supposed to be a winner, some sensibilities cannot help but feel left out of the game. 

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In Brave New World, why do Bernard Marx and Helmholtz Watson feel out of place in society?

Both of them are Alpha + members of the society, but this alone isn't what causes them to feel like outsiders. If anything, the superior characteristics of an Alpha + should confer a kind of inner satisfaction upon the individual. In Bernard's case, much of his dysphoria has to do (though this seems to interpret him as a superficial character) with his physical appearance. He's small and unattractive looking, and he is self-conscious about it. The whole Society is built on the principles of conformity and regularity. Bernard is a misfit not through any deliberation of thought but because he's a kind of anomaly within the system. It is not just his appearance. He seems as well to present with what we now call OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), fretting about incidental and unimportant things that should not be a concern to anyone in this "perfect world."

Helmholtz is different. He seems more of a genuine rebel than Bernard, and his consciousness of his difference from others drives him to question the role the Society expects him to play. What he has, what he's been assigned to do in the world, is fine but it isn't enough. It's as if he has the soul of an artist from the pre-dystopian period. He tells Bernard that he feels he has something inside him that he wishes to express, an "extra power" he isn't using. But given the limitations imposed upon him and everyone else, there is no outlet for it.

Both men have Otherness in their characters. It is interesting that they aren't much different from people in our own "normal" time and world who don't fit in with society, even though this future realm is supposed to be, and actually is, structured around a rigid "ideal" in which all roles are planned from "birth" and the unhappiness and tragedies of the past have been eliminated. Helmholtz and Bernard, like the story of Brave New World, are projections into the future of what is real in Huxley's, and our own, times.

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In Brave New World, why do Bernard Marx and Helmholtz Watson feel out of place in society?

Bernard Marx is a highly intelligent Alpha-Plus citizen of the World State who is disgruntled with society and is considered an outsider in his caste because of his physical appearance and unappealing personality. Unlike the other Alpha-Plus citizens, Bernard Marx is physically inferior to his peers and resembles a member of the lower castes. Bernard is significantly shorter than the other Alphas and there is even a rumor that someone accidentally spilled alcohol in his blood-surrogate, which stunted his grown.

Bernard's inferiority complex makes him a lonely, resentful man, who desires to engage in promiscuous sex with attractive women and gain the respect of his peers. As a result of his inferiority complex, Bernard develops a rare distaste for society and becomes highly critical of the World State. He even refuses to take soma and derives pleasure from not conforming. However, Bernard's attitude towards society dramatically changes once he becomes famous for being John's guardian.

Unlike Bernard, Helmholtz Watson is a well-built, attractive Alpha-Plus who is a respected lecturer at the College of Emotional Engineering. Although Helmholtz is an extremely intelligent man, he is forced to compose superficial scenarios, slogans, and hypnopædic rhymes, which he recognizes as shallow and unfulfilling. Helmholtz's intelligence is what separates him from his peers and makes him feel out of place in society. Similar to Bernard, Helmholtz also recognizes that he is different from everyone else and is displeased with the World State's shallow, meaningless society.

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In Brave New World, why do Bernard Marx and Helmholtz Watson feel out of place in society?

Bernard Marx feels out of place because he is physically different from his peers.  In the book, it is rumored that someone thought he was a member of the Gamma caste, so they put alcohol in his blood-surrogate, stunting his growth.  Regardless of the reason, Bernard possesses the intelligence of an Alpha Plus caste member, but he has the body and appearance of a lower caste member.  As a consequence, he is seen as abnormal by his peers and the lower castes.  Being ostracized, Bernard retreats into his own world, preferring to be alone or with his only friend, Helmholtz Watson. Furthermore, he criticizes his society and its values, and he feels that he is superior to his peers because he thinks freely and does not, at least in his mind, conform to the conditioning he was subjected to as a child.  However, once he returns with John the Savage, and is accepted by his peers, he revels in all the pleasures his society has to offer, completely abandoning his previous attitude towards his society.  In the end, he begs Mustapha Mond not to banish him to some remote island, away from the very society he claims to despise when we first meet him.

Helmholtz Watson feels out of place for a different reason.  Though he is physically perfect, he is too intelligent.  Life for Helmholtz is great, but he is bored.  As a writer, he feels that he is capable of great work, but he doesn't know what that work is or how to do it.  He is to a degree trapped by his conditioning.  When he meets John the Savage and hears Shakespeare for the first time, he begins to see the beauty and potential of poetry.  He also begins to realize that pain and suffering, emotions that he has never felt, are necessary to create art.  Unlike Bernard, Helmholtz readily accepts his banishment.  Given a choice of islands he would like to be sent to, he asks for one with bad weather so he can be a better writer.

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Why are Helmholtz and Bernard misfits in Brave New World by Aldous Huxley?

In the controlled society of Brave New World, Bernard Marx and Helmholtz Watson are misfits because they are different from other Alphas. 

Both Bernard and Helmholtz are independent thinkers—anachronisms in their society—and they are suspicious of aspects of society. This individualism of the two men makes them threats to a social system that has been devised to limit the intelligence of each group and to breed conformity.

During incubation, some alcohol mixed with Bernard's blood surrogate and produced in him sensibilities similar to people who lived during the time of Henry Ford. So, what is perceived in him as a mental excess separates Bernard from others; his emotionalism also isolates him. For example, he displays much anger and impatience with people, as, for instance, in his attendance at the Solidarity Service. While the others believe that they feel the coming of the "Greater Being," despite having ingested the soma, Bernard has no profound stirrings like the others. "He heard nothing and, for him, nobody was coming." Only real emotion stirs Bernard.

On his date with Lenina in Chapter 6, Bernard is persuaded to take Lenina to the Semi-Demi-Finals of a wrestling championship. Unlike other people, Bernard hates crowds. As a result, he is grumpy the rest of the afternoon and refuses to talk with Lenina's friends. In spite of his discomfort, Bernard refuses any soma, even though Lenina presses him.

"I’d rather be myself,” he said. “Myself and nasty. Not somebody else, however jolly.” 

Unlike others, Bernard values emotional involvement with a woman, and is disgusted by the indiscriminate acts of sexual conduct by members of his society that involve no genuine feeling. On his date with Lenina, for instance, he wants to enjoy nature, but she does not understand why he would rather look at the moon and sky and trees instead of engage in sexual acts with her.

Unfortunately, however, Bernard also succumbs to other emotions of the obsolete time of Henry Ford, such as jealousy and pettiness. For, when he learns that John the Savage is the son of the former lover of the Director, Bernard becomes hypocritical as he returns with John and his mother Linda in order to humiliate the Director. His plan backfires on him, however, and Bernard is expelled from his society.

Like Bernard, Helmholtz Watson is an individual. However, he presents himself as a more appropriate Alpha, handsome and in control. Still, he senses there is something more about life that he is missing. When Helmholtz and Bernard speak in Chapter 4, Bernard compliments Helmholtz's writing: 

“But your things are good, Helmholtz.”

But Helmholtz feels that something is missing:

“Oh, as far as they go.” Helmholtz shrugged his shoulders. “But they go such a little way. They aren’t important enough, somehow. I feel I could do something much more important. Yes, and more intense, more violent. But what? What is there more important to say? And how can one be violent about the sort of things one’s expected to write about?"

It is only after John reads from Romeo and Juliet that Helmholtz fully understands that he lacks the emotional power to write things that are "violent."

When, for example, he responds to John the Savage's reading from Romeo and Juliet,

"Why was that old fellow [Shakespeare] such a marvelous propaganda technician? Because he had so many insane, excruciating things to get excited about. You've got to be hurt and upset; otherwise you can't think of the really good, penetrating X-rayish phrases..."

Helmholtz realizes that, although he has the intellectual prowess, he lacks the emotion to express himself as Shakespeare does. In this respect, he is like Bernard: frustrated with his make-up and its limitations. He knows that he cannot overcome his conditioning to become a whole man in the traditional sense because he is defined by his culture.

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