Brave New World is the novel by Aldous Huxley. Set in the anti-utopian world, the story is dedicated to the society in which the totalitarian rule uses science and technology to control and oppress people (Astrachan & Huxley, 1984). The author’s main idea is that when combined, politics, science, and technology can result in the total annihilation of human individuality and the gradual loss of purpose and vision in life. There are many memorable characters in the novel. Bernard Marx is definitely one of them. His ambiguity and complexity have attracted many readers. In this essay, the author attempts to describe this character and explain why he has incited such controversial emotions in readers and literary critics.
So, who is Bernard Marx? The man lives in a society where almost all people are flawless. Those who have some flaws are discriminated and oppressed by the majority. Therefore, Bernard Marx cannot hope for a happy life. He has a short stature, which is believed to be caused by his surrogate’s alcoholism. Although he has an Alpha-Plus status, he is painfully aware of his flaw and blames it for not being able to succeed in life. Bernard believes he is a true individual. Deep in his soul, he wishes to fight the conformity and oppose the pervasive social pressure. However, it seems that he cannot simply become a true hero, a rebel that could change the world.
Bernard Marx’s job is psychology. Yet, he knows so little about himself. He would like to be creative and courageous, but every time he gets the opportunity to stand out, he acts like a coward. His subservient nature makes him respect the authority, and he is willing to seize power himself. As the story unfolds, Marx is becoming increasingly detestable. He looks whiny and trivial, and he is so desperately focused on personal success that readers gradually lose interest in him and turn their attention to other characters.
Bernard Marx and His Relationships with Other Characters
The way Marx interacts with others is also important to understand this character. Take, for example, Helmholtz Watson. These men are both Alphas, which means they are smart and have a privileged position in the society. They have many things in common and like each other. However, Marx turns out to be too shallow. When compared with his friend Helmholtz, this character remains weak and uninteresting, and he is unable to generate readers’ empathy despite his pain and loneliness. Unlike Brave New World Helmholtz, or convincing and powerful Mustapha Mond, he cannot commit to his values and goals and focuses on succeeding in the society rather than defining his individuality (Izzo & Kirkpatrick, 2008). Notably, there is a spark of hope. His experience with Helmholtz makes him more mature by the end of the novel and allows him to learn more about himself.
One also needs to speak about Lenina Crowne. This woman has played a role in Bernard’s life, choosing this misfit despite the fact that she could get any man she wanted. Being sexually attractive but somewhat shallow, this woman has brief relationships with Bernard. One may even think they are in love. However, Lenina gets interested in more attractive and assertive John and leaves Bernard. Interestingly, Bernard is so focused on his career that he soon forgets about the woman that he wanted so badly. To conclude, Bernard turns out fake. He might have become a rebel and the main character of Brave New World 1980, but he chose to fit into the society instead.
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Astrachan, A., & Huxley, A. (1984). Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Hauppauge, NY: Barron’s Educational Series.
Izzo, D. G., & Kirkpatrick, K. (2008). Huxley’s Brave New World: Essays. Jeffersonl, NC: McFarland.