Retrospective on a Brave New World

So if I am to look back on as amusing a novel as Brave New World (read and enjoyed in high school), and observe a passage such as

“He’s mad,” whispered Bernard, staring with wide open eyes. “They’ll kill him. They’ll …” A great shout suddenly went up from the mob; a wave of movement drove it menacingly towards the Savage. “Ford help him!” said Bernard, and averted his eyes.”


Ford helps those who help themselves.” And with a laugh, actually a laugh of exultation, Helmholtz Watson pushed his way through the crowd.

with the advantage of hindsight and such material knowledge of the world as might be obtained only some time after high school, is it possible not to see a degree of commentary, whether sly (Bernard’s last name is Marx) or unknowing (Huxley apparently was a pacifist and goof besides), on Britain’s position as to Germany?

Great Britain, heir to its own empire, gives us Bernard, classed (I recall) an Alpha but deficient in height possibly as a result of “alcohol in his blood surrogate.” Bernard’s only friend Helmholtz by contrast is an Alpha Plus and rather more sure of himself in this unfamiliar scenario (the Savage is destroying Soma in front of Deltas).

There must be a bit of Nietzsche here too: if God is not dead He nevertheless is Ford and Helmholtz is better prepared to deal with this than is Bernard. Meanwhile Germany steeled itself for a new kind of war.

All of this seems far too prescient an accounting of the decade following publication in 1932 to be coincidence.

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