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Bernard's Quest For Individuality: A Brave New World

2451 words - 10 pages

Bernard’s Quest for Individuality
Have you ever felt like an outcast? Ever been publically humiliated and constantly reminded of your differences? That is what life is life for Bernard Marx, an intelligent sleep-teaching expert who is a misfit in his society. He is aware of the hypnopaedia that is being used on the people in order to control him and he claims that he wants to break free from this society of mindless clones. However, throughout the novel, Bernard goes through a remarkable change and takes on a role of an anti-hero as his ideas of freedom and individuality are stomped on by his sudden popularity. Thesis: Bernard Marx’s quest for individuality is doomed because of his criticism of World State’s ideals stems from his flaws, his egotism, and his hypocritical nature.
Bernard is a misfit who is constantly mocked by his peers for his physical defects, which is the primary cause of his dislike of the World State’s society. He is an Alpha male, and yet his physical flaws and insecurities lead him to feel lonely and self-conscious. In a world of tall, handsome, and broad-shouldered Alphas, Bernard is short, slender, and ugly, and prejudice in favor of size is universal. “The mockery made him feel an outsider; and feeling an outsider he behaved like one, which increased the prejudice against him and intensified the contempt and hostility aroused by his physical defects (Huxley 56).” From this quote it becomes evident that Bernard is angry at the world for not accepting him and claims to be an individual. But in reality, he accepts this prejudice and he supports it because he knows that if he had a better physique, he would not be a subject of mockery of the society. He himself is prejudiced against people based on their status and appearance. For example, during the Solidarity Service, he becomes angry when the seat between the prettier women is taken and reveals his dislike of Morgana because of her disfigured face and a uniform eyebrow. This detail constantly reminds him of his own flaws and weaknesses, of his true self and his loneliness. Bernard does not dislike going to the event because of its immorality and suppression of individualism, he dislikes it because it makes him feel even more like himself: miserable and insecure. Another example is shown when Bernard meets John, an outcast from the Reservation, and his fixation on flaws and position in the society is constantly on his mind. When John shows him a scar from his injury, Bernard is terrified: “[He] looked, and then quickly, with a little shudder, averted his eyes. His conditioning had made him not so much pitiful as profoundly squeamish. The mere suggestion of illness or wounds was to him not only horrifying, but even repulsive and rather disgusting. Like dirt, or deformity, or old age” (Huxley 119-120). The scar is a definite sign of rebellion in a society that tries to eliminate discomfort and sadness, and yet, as seen in the quote, Bernard cannot stand the sight of it....

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