When Lenina tells Bernard in front of a big group of coworkers that she accepts his invitation to see the Savage Reservation, Bernard reacts with embarrassment. His suggestion that they discuss it privately confuses Lenina. She saunters off to meet Henry. Bernard feels terrible because Lenina behaved like a “healthy and virtuous English girl”—that is, someone unafraid of discussing her sexual life in public. When the genial Benito Hoover strikes up a conversation, Bernard rushes away. Lenina and Henry fly off on their date in Henry’s helicopter, and look down upon their world in perfect contentment.
Ordering a pair of Delta-Minus attendants to get his helicopter ready for flight, Bernard betrays his insecurity about his size. The lower castes associate larger size with higher status, so he has trouble getting them to follow his orders. Bernard contemplates his feelings of alienation and becomes irritable. He visits his friend, Helmholtz Watson, a lecturer at the College of Emotional Engineering. Helmholtz is an extremely intelligent, attractive, and properly sized Alpha Plus who works in propaganda. Some of Helmholtz’s superiors think he is a little too smart for his own good. The narrator agrees with them, noting that “a mental excess had produced in Helmholtz Watson effects very similar to those which, in Bernard Marx, were the result of a physical defect.” The friendship between Bernard and Helmholtz springs from their mutual dissatisfaction with the status quo and their shared inclination to view themselves as individuals. Once together, Bernard boasts that Lenina has accepted his invitation, but Helmholtz shows little interest. Helmholtz is preoccupied with the thought that his writing talent could be better used than simply for writing hypnopaedic phrases. His work leaves him feeling empty and unfulfilled. Bernard becomes nervous, jumping up at one point because he thinks, wrongly, that someone is listening at the door.
After a game of Obstacle Golf, Henry and Lenina fly in a helicopter over a crematorium where phosphorous is collected from burning bodies for fertilizer. They drink coffee with soma before heading off to the Westminster Abbey Cabaret. They take another soma dose before they return to Henry’s apartment. Although the repeated doses of soma have made them almost completely oblivious to the world around them, Lenina remembers to use her contraceptives.
Orgy-porgy, Ford and fun,
Kiss the girls and make them One.
Boys at one with girls at peace;
Orgy-porgy gives release.
Every other Thursday, Bernard has to take part in Solidarity Service at the Fordson Community Singery. The participants sit twelve to a table, alternating men and women. While a rousing hymn plays, the participants pass a cup of strawberry ice cream soma and take a soma tablet with it. They work themselves into a frenzy of exultation and the ceremony ends in a sex orgy that leaves Bernard feeling more isolated than ever.
Lenina convinces Bernard to attend a wrestling match. He behaves gloomily the entire afternoon and, despite Lenina’s urging, refuses to take soma. During the return trip, he stops his helicopter and hovers over the Channel. She begs him to take her away from the rushing emptiness of the water after he tells her that the silence makes him feel like an individual. Eventually he takes a large dose of soma, and has sex with her.
The next day, Bernard tells Lenina that he did not really want to have sex with her the first night; he would have preferred to act like an adult instead. Then he goes to get the Director’s permission to visit the Reservation. He braces himself for the Director’s disapproval of his unusual behavior. When the Director presents the permit, he mentions that he took a trip there with a woman twenty years before. She was lost during a storm and has not been seen since. When Bernard says that he must have suffered a terrible shock, the Director immediately realizes that he has been revealing too much of his personal life. He criticizes Bernard for his antisocial behavior and threatens to exile him to Iceland if his impropriety persists. Bernard leaves the office feeling proud of being considered a rebel.