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The Director resigns in disgrace, and Bernard is able to keep his job. John, known as “the Savage,” becomes an instant society hit. Linda takes soma continually and falls into a half-awake, half-asleep state of intoxication. Bernard experiences unprecedented popularity as John’s appointed guardian. He boasts about his thriving sex life to Helmholtz, but Helmholtz responds only with a gloomy silence that offends Bernard. Bernard decides to stop speaking to him. He shamelessly parades his unorthodox behavior, thinking that his popularity as the Savage’s discoverer and guardian will protect him. He writes Mond to tell him that John finds “civilized infantility” too easy. Bernard says he agrees with John’s verdict. Mond, reading the heretical letter, thinks he might have to teach Bernard a lesson.
The sight of dozens of identical twins in a factory sickens John. With bitter irony, he echoes Shakespeare’s line, “O brave new world that has such people in it.” He refuses to take soma and visits his mother often. He visits Eton where Alpha children laugh at a film of “savages” beating themselves with whips on a Reservation.
Lenina likes John but cannot tell if he likes her. She takes him to a feely, entitled Three Weeks in a Helicopter, that tells the story of a black man who kidnaps a blond Beta-Plus woman for his own enjoyment. John hates the movie, but it reinvigorates his passion for Lenina. His shame at his physical desire overwhelms him. To Lenina’s bewilderment, John refuses to have sex with her. He locks himself in his room and reads Shakespeare’s Othello. Lenina returns to her room and takes soma.
Bernard arranges a large party of important people, promising them a chance to meet the Savage. But when they arrive, John refuses to leave his room. Bernard is humiliated and embarrassed as all of his guests, including the Arch-Community-Songster of Canterbury, leave in contempt. Lenina is disappointed that she cannot see John again to find out why he behaved so strangely after the feely. The Arch-Community-Songster warns Bernard that he should be more careful in his criticisms of the World State.
Bernard sinks back into his former melancholia now that his newfound success has evaporated. He makes John his scapegoat. Bernard is simultaneously grateful and resentful that Helmholtz gives him the friendship he needs without criticizing him for his earlier unfriendliness. Helmholtz has gotten himself into trouble for reading some unorthodox rhymes to his students at the college. But he is excited to have finally found a voice of his own.
John and Helmholtz meet, and take to one another right away. Bernard is jealous of their affection for one another and wishes he had never brought them together. He takes soma to escape his feelings. John reads passages from Shakespeare to Helmholtz. The poetry enraptures Helmholtz, but when John reads a passage from Romeo and Juliet about Juliet’s parents trying to persuade her to marry Paris, Helmholtz bursts into laughter. The absurdity of having a mother and father is not the only thing that he finds funny; the fact that anyone would make a fuss over which man a girl should have is even funnier. John locks his book away because Helmholtz’s laughter insults and wounds him.