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Despite all of his social conditioning Bernard is short and physically inadequate for the status of Alpha-Plus, and therefore has an inferiority complex. Other characters believe that he may have accidentally received a dose of alcohol while in the fetal stages. He is more independent thinking because of feeling separate from society. Bernard initially rejects the precepts of society. When he brings John Savage to "civilization" Bernard falls into the same "disease" of external validation and sexual consumption that he once maligned.