The following interior monologue was written from the perspective of Bernard — a male character from Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World. It takes place after Bernard has woken up the day following his first date with Lenina where they had sex. Do note that the interior monologue most probably will make a lot more sense if you’ve read the book.
Oh, Ford, Ford, Ford. I am as despicable as Henry Foster and those other swines. Acting as they would, I had Lenina on the first night — I treated her like meat! Like so much damn meat. To have had her with such ease and such haste… oh, Bernard, how wretched you are! I ought to have waited to show her, somehow, that she is not merely a pneumatic body for men to pleasure; that she is more than a cell in the social body; that she is more than just another Beta; that she is… Lenina. And Lenina, acting abnormal in some other extraordinary way, she could have been perfect… and so too could have I.
Oh beastly Bernard, what has one done? Had I only arrested my impulses, maybe I too could have been something more. I could have been significant. I could have tasted passion. I could have felt alive. I could have felt strongly when society demanded that I don’t. For defying authority, I would have been recognized as not merely Bernard but rather… Bernard, an individual and everybody would respect me for it. What I would do to feel the intoxicating elation of being positively gigantic and yet as light as air — free.
But now, all is lost for my haste has ruined me. Such foolishness! Such loss! I have proven myself to be as loathsome as everyone else — all of us: enslaved by our conditioning. I am an adult at work and yet elsewhere, I act as an infant would: demanding constant satisfaction; unable to wait. The World State says I have done right and yet I ache as though I am suffering. No, I am suffering. My loss is ineffable and her… her… stupidity is, in part, to blame.
Why doesn’t she understand that we would be more… us, more together in private? Because ‘Everyone belongs to everyone else’; because sixty-two thousand four hundred repetitions make one truth; because waiting feels awful. I know. I know. I know. Being a hypnopaedia specialist, I know damn well why she didn’t, doesn’t and most probably never will understand but still! It pains me that she is remains so wholly uncomprehensive of the joy we could have felt in being alone and talking. With her it is always in a crowd; always Obstacle Golf or Electro-magnetic Golf; always jolly on soma. Oh Ford! Soma! I nearly forgot that only moments prior to having her, I had avowed that I would rather be myself and nasty than to take soma and be someone else however jolly, and yet I was bottled while having her — the shame! The shame!
But it would not have ended so deplorably had Lenina not been so unhappy and made me feel awful. Her tears left me torn: should I persevere and possibly destroy her blissful ignorance or do I keep her incomprehension intact and indulge in bodily pleasures as she and society so desire? Either way, I was bound to lose something. I be damned if I do and I be damned if I don’t — the situation was so horrible, so perfectly fitting for me that it was laughable. So I laughed; I laughed for all that my inescapably wretched existence was worth. Poor Bernard. Idiot Bernard. To believe that you are worth some else’s deviance — you are truly a fool, a tired and damned fool.
Honestly, Lenina, in all her irresistibly pneumatic glory, wants to have me? She wants the Alpha-Plus with alcohol in his surrogate? She wants the creature with a Gamma-Minus physique? I am undeserving of her second glance let alone to be the object of her desires. Who am I to deny her? So I didn’t — I had her. I pleasured her. I satisfied her. And such success, by all accounts, ought to have left me overwhelmed with the calm ecstasy of triumph. Yes, I should be unfathomably happy right now and yet I am utterly miserable.
‘I should be happy now’ — oh, Ford, what a sick joke it is that hypnopaedic wisdom should haunt me even now! Why is it that, searching within myself and others, I continuously fail to find refuge from my conditioning? I am appalling — so useless that it is repulsive.
Everyone is happy now. Everyone is happy now. Everyone is happy now — I have heard it repeated a hundred and fifty times every night for twelve years and many more times since that now, its utterance only savors of loneliness and bitter disappointment. Everyone is happy now. Everyone is happy now.
I am I but I damn wish I wasn’t. Everyone is happy now indeed.