Brave New World

How do the problems that the individuals experience in Chapter 4, Part 1 of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World highlight underlying problems stemming from the society in which they exist?

chapter 4

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Chapter 4 marks a departure from the first three chapters by introducing rational humans. Both Bernard Marx and Helmholtz Watson have deep-seated suspicions of the society that they live in, though they do not know how to put such suspicions into thought or words. This impulse towards the rational comes from differences - physical for Bernard, mental for Helmholtz - that disrupt their ability to accept the ordered world around them. Thus, Huxley makes a statement about creativity, progress, and the ability of powerful authorities to stifle such things.

Huxley shows society’s abhorrence of rational, independent thought in the mockery of Bernard Marx by his coworkers. Helmholtz Watson also faces the same predicament in the sense that his superiors think he is too good at what he does. This fear of individuality ensures the stability of the society because its absence prevents creativity. Since creativity would lead to attempts to reform the society, the World Controllers root out individual creativity whenever possible.