John - As the only major character raised outside of the World State, John becomes an experiment in socialization. He is rejected by inhabitants of the reservation and cannot comprehend the emptiness of life in civilization. His fascination with Shakespeare allows him to verbalize his intense feelings and experience what civilization has lost. His fascination with Lenina eventually abases him and his inability to comprehend her conditioning leads to disaster.
Bernard - The novel focuses on Bernard initially, but as John enters the narrative, Bernard fades into the background. Bernard initially appears to be a rebel, but it is revealed he’s a rebel only because he cannot match other Alphas physically. Once he becomes popular and sought after by beautiful women, he no longer wishes to upset the social order. Bernard shows himself to be a selfish coward on many occasions: he shouts at the lower castes who do not respect him automatically on account of his size; he brings John and Linda back for the sole purpose of embarrassing the Director; he uses John for upward social mobility; he tries to escape when John and Hemholtz are in danger. He sobs uncontrollably after being banished.
Lenina Crowne - Lenina has the distinction of having been with most of the novel’s characters. She is unorthodox in many respects–a long monogamous relationship at one point, a liking for social outcast Bernard, and an uncontrolled passion for the savage. She, however, is unable to get beyond her social conditioning and can only express her affection through sex.
Hemholtz Watson - The only character who sympathizes with Bernard, Hemholtz possesses an above average intelligence and the desire for introspection and self-fulfillment, something he knows is impossible in civilization. Despite these yearnings for freedom, Hemholtz’s conditioning causes him to laugh at Romeo and Juliet and the concept of family and relationships. Hemholtz only finds meaning through writing, which he plans to do in exile.
Mustapha Mond - The World Controller of Western Europe keeps forbidden books in a safe in his office. He, like Hemholtz, once had a desire for literature, a desire he sacrificed in order to maintain social stability as world controller. He is similar to Beatty from Fahrenheit 451 and O’Brien in 1984, insomuch that they have access to illegal knowledge and use it to thwart those who wish to overturn the social order.
Linda - Accidentally left behind 20 years prior by the Director of Hatcheries and Social Conditioning, John’s mother is unable to assimilate peaceably into savage society on account of her conditioning. Her inability to mend and her propensity to sleep with every man in the tribe makes her an object of scorn. Upon returning to civilization, she remains on a constant soma holiday, her appearance repulsive to all.
The Director - The director holds much power over Bernard and exiles him to Iceland. Because of his scandalous fathering of a child, who appears in time to save Bernard, the director is ruined and resigns in shame. The director shows the hypocrisy of World government bureaucrats.
Fanny Crowne - Lenina’s roommate who encourages her to conform.
This post is part of the series: Brave New World Study Guide
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