Individuality In Helmholtz's Brave New World

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Helmholtz Watson is known by the people of “Brave New World” to be an extremely able and successful man, both as an Escalator-Squash champion and a genius Emotional Engineer. However, Helmholtz’s abnormal intelligence forces him to be aware of his individuality, and therefore alienates him from other people surrounding him (p. 67). When Helmholtz becomes aware of his individuality, he is essentially exiled from his homeland. Initially, this experience is frustrating as Helmholtz tries to understand his purpose in life. However, as he deviates away from his “civilized” society and begins to talk to the savage John, Helmholtz begins to pursue art and knowledge, achieving a satisfaction unique to him. This experience clarifies the meaning of …show more content…
Bernard is an alpha, however he is much smaller and weaker than the rest of his caste and therefore an outcast among the others (p.64). Bernard acts as a foil to Helmholtz, for while Helmholtz wants to find his purpose outside of the social norms, Bernard longs to be ‘normal’ and to fit in better among the alphas. Helmholtz soon realizes this, and instead begins to talk with the ‘savage’ John. His experience of exile from the other people of British society is enriching for Helmholtz as John opens his eyes to the art and literature of the “pre-Ford” years. (p. 182). As Helmholtz learns more of literature and poetry, he chooses to devote an increased amount of time to literature. This exemplifies how Helmholtz’s experience of exile from his society is beneficial and enriching as he finds his purpose and learns satisfaction through literature. He learns that he does not belong in the “civilized” British society, and when he makes the choice to abandon his job as emotional engineer, he is exiled to an island in order to avoid the spread of his revolutionary thoughts (p.227). Helmholtz is ultimately accepting of this ‘punishment’ because it will allow him to meet “the most interesting set of men and women to be found anywhere in the world.” (p. 227) When Helmholtz is finally forced out of England, it becomes clear that his experience of exile had not only …show more content…
This analysis of how exile affected Helmholtz clarifies the meaning of the book by showing that he was ultimately satisfied when he achieved a sense of purpose and connection with those around him. The contrast between Helmholtz and Bernard also enforces the idea that happiness is dependent on the person, and that true happiness stems from a feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment as well as from a sense of belongingness. When Helmholtz experiences alienation as he becomes suddenly aware of both the truth and his individuality, he is unhappy. This questions the meaning of happiness and whether it can exist without ignorance or oblivion. By posing these questions of the meaning of happiness and our desire to belong, the novel gains relevance as we question where our happiness stems from and whether the society around us is truly

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