John's preference for Shakespeare over the feelies leads to an explicit discussion of the power of words to create and express emotion — and to upset the social equilibrium. The chapter also dramatizes John's rejection of Bernard for the more philosophical Helmholtz. In defying Bernard's demands for him to appear at a very important social gathering, John uses two techniques of resistance — retreat and the Zuni language — both expressing his indifference to and independence from the powerful people of the London world. Faced with demand to behave as a conventional celebrity to ensure Bernard's continued social success, John returns to his Malpais identity, speaking Zuni and seeking comfort in the poetry of Shakespeare. Bernard's helplessness and John's angry disillusion will grow in the coming chapters — creating the climax and bringing about the events of the conclusion. The main idea of the chapter comes into focus, however, with Helmholtz's surprising composition of
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