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Brave New World

Aldous Huxley

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Chapter 4, Part 1

Kristen Over, Associate Professor at Northeastern Illinois University, provides an in-depth summary and analysis of Chapter 4, Part 1 of Aldous Huxley's book Brave New World.

Brave New World | Chapter 4, Part 1 | Summary



On the elevator ride to the roof after work, Lenina approaches Bernard Marx and tells him she accepts his offer to go on vacation with him to the New Mexico Savage Reservation in July. Bernard responds with astonishment, wondering why she's saying this in front of all of the people in the elevator. Lenina, confused by Bernard's reaction, tells him to give her a week's notice before they leave.

The elevator operator announces they've reached the roof and lets everyone out. With the door open, he excitedly repeats "Roof! Roof!"—as though he's never seen sunlight—but then the loudspeaker summons him back to Floor 18.

Outside, Lenina hurries away to meet Henry Foster at the helicopter pad for their trip to play Obstacle Golf. Bernard turns to find the "oddly good-natured" Benito Hoover of the Alpha caste looking down at him. Benito wonders why he looks so unhappy and realizes it must be because he's so short. Bernard's short stature—Benito assumes—must have been caused by alcohol being put into his blood surrogate. Angrily, Benito stuffs a piece of sex-hormone gum into his mouth.

During the helicopter ride, Lenina shows the effectiveness of her hypnopaedia (or sleep-learning) with her comments on the ugliness of the color khaki and on the green-clad Gammas about whom she says, "I'm glad I'm not a Gamma."


Chapter 4 begins by saying Lenina had slept with nearly every man on the elevator. She is seen as an object of desire for men and has been put in the role of seductress. However, her interaction with Bernard—a social outcast—proves that she still has independent thoughts, even in the homogenous World State. She may be trying to rebel against the role society has placed on her as a high caste member.

Meanwhile, Bernard—an Alpha Plus—is angry that his smaller stature separates him from the tall and muscular Alpha males like Benito Hoover. Bernard also hates how the other men objectify women, especially Lenina, whom he likes. He rejects the conditioning that promotes the superiority of males over females, and he doesn't care if other disapproves of his thinking. He has been endowed with the intelligence traits given to Alpha-Plus males and is obviously struggling between what he has been conditioned to think and what he feels is right.

This short section foreshadows how individuality counteracts with the World State's ideal of a controlled and subdued society.

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