A valiant look washes over Joan of Arc's strong face. "I shall not burn at the stake for a sin I am not guilty of", exclaims Joan of Arc, in an attempt to exculpate her charges of heresy. She stands forth in a biased court, waiting to hear the verdict of her iniquitous trial. Her heart races; every moment seems endless. "Joan of Arc, you are hereby guilty of the acts of heresy, betrayal of the church, witchcraft and treason", states the judge as the ravenous audience looks on in anticipation. The only thing that can save her from her demise is confession of her sins and acknowledgment of her wrongs. "I would rather die an unruly death than give into you unworthy rats and say I am a witch to save myself from the fiery flames. Outcast me as you will, but I will be remembered for who I really am."
Joan of Arc will not conform; she will not denounce her morals to some diluted mob in order to salvage her innocence. Similarly, in Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley, Helmholtz Watson refuses to sacrifice his individuality and logical values in order to receive acceptance from the citizens. For this reason, Helmholtz Watson's superior intellectual capacity increases his dissension towards society's simplistic values and his inability to conform to their illusory social standards.
Rather than setting true goals like Helmholtz Watson, the World State strives to construct a stable society by substituting contentment for human emotion and real beauty. Helmholtz Watson does not conform well to this society because he aspires to achieve something higher than simple satisfaction. He formulates goals for himself, unlike the unfocused society he lives in. Society places emphasis on false constancy and unity, rather than stressing the importance of sincerity and reality. To the World State, it would be disastrous if the citizens were to "lose their faith in happiness as the Sovereign Good and take to believing, instead, that the goal [is] somewhere beyond; that the purpose of life [is] not the maintenance of well-being, but some intensification and refining of consciousness, some enlargement of knowledge"(177). They train the citizens to place the good of the whole above the good of the individual by using propaganda and brainwashing. Hypnopedia, sleep teaching, and other methods of edification, such as Neo-Pavovian conditioning, ensure that the young children and adults only learn what the Controller feels is necessary information. Instead of teaching children fundamentals to make them set goals and progress independently in life, the conditioning aims at "making people like their inescapable social destiny"(16). If the citizens are dissatisfied with their roles or castes, they would rebel, and therefore, cause instability in their community. Mustapaha Mond, the Controller conveys how important it is for the people to feel secure when he expresses, "We have our stability to think of. We don't want to change. Every change is a menace to stability"(225). He feels change will cause apprehension and cause people to turn away from the good of the whole. Their goal, essentially, is strength and compliance, rather than real contentment and emotion. Watson, however, prefers to be truly happy, emotionally, rather than strive to achieve society's meaningless objective. The citizens, unlike Watson, do not even realize they are attempting to fulfill a senseless goal because they are given soma. It blinds them from reality and makes them incapable of feeling. It gives them the allusion of ambition and happiness, without the consequences, like pain, that come with real feeling. They do not "even understand what manhood and freedom are"(213) because of soma and their brainwashing education. Consequently, rather than having the citizens set targets to achieve independently, Mond feels the community should forfeit all their beliefs to help create a Utopia.
Helmholtz Watson's sincere desire for a meaningful life stands in direct contrast to the World State's selfish need for unity and stability. The World State's unyielding standards suppress Watson. He feels that society has taken away his ability to grow intellectually and individually because they do not foster such attributes. Watson yearns to write about piercing subjects and feels he has "something important to say and the power to say it"(69) because his community suppresses his chances to express his creativity and individuality. Writing about boring subjects, like the Community Singters, stifles his views and does not allow him to put in analysis or teach his beliefs. To demonstrate his opposition and attempt to express himself, he reads his poem of Solitude to his class. No one understands why he reads such forbidden material. To support his reasoning behind reading the poem, he explains "I [am] trying to engineer them into feeling as I [feel] when I [write] the rhymes"(180). Because of this demonstration, the authorities reprimand him. Some hypnopedic speeches directly discourage solitude, and for this reason, the principal of the college and other superior figures are outraged to hear of his obvious protest. To him, writing is an essential to life, but the community takes that necessity away from him. They force him to write facts and statistics like everyone else, rather than opinion and editorials. He feels inferior and unintelligent when he writes because "it is idiotic writing when there's nothing to say"(221). These opinions he has towards writing, as well as other factors, cause him to be a misfit in the World State. Physically and mentally, Helmholtz is not like the other member of the community. Everyone, including himself, has "become aware of his difference from people who [surround] him"(67). This knowledge permits him to make connections much easier than the brainwashed citizens. Because he actually realizes how the Controller and Director are programming them into robots, he feels the need to inform others. Watson expresses this obligation that he feels when he asks Bernard, " [do] you ever feel as though you [have] something inside of you that [is] only waiting for you to give it a chance to come out"(69)? He clearly alludes that he feels strongly about making a change. He wants to somehow communicate his understandings to all the citizens; specifically his students. He, however, also wishes to explain to everyone how Mond and Ford are controlling their minds. The Controllers give the citizens drugs to alter their judgment and to make them become a figment of the drug. Watson, on the other hand, is the Helmholtz he creates himself to be; "not the Helmholtz of a half-gramme holiday"(180). He wants to feel for himself and make his own decisions; not the drug's decisions. In an attempt to demonstrate this ability, he assists John in the destruction of soma. At the hospital, he throws the encoding drug out the window to display its insignificance. This ideas and actions, though not acceptable, are respectable. Mustapha even admits that he likes his spirit, even though he "officially disapproves [of] it"(229). Mond must punish this behavior because it is such an outrage. When he tells Watson that he is going to be sent to an isolated island, Watson is overcome with joy. Normally, this punishment causes people to be distressed because the climate is bad and the living conditions are poor. Helmholtz, though, thinks "one would write better if the climate [is] bad"(229), so he is pleased. His writing, not stability nor false emotions, is most important to him. Rather than feeling punished and suppressed, Watson is ecstatic because he will be free to write of his own volition. Hence, because Watson's morals are strikingly different than society's, he does not conform nor approve.
Thus, Helmholtz Watson opposes the traditional lifestyle of the World State because of his knowledge of the real world. Ultimately, Watson's better judgment proves too strong for the lure of the Utopian values. He not only heeds his own warning, but he strives to convince others that his goals are realistic and appropriate. Like Joan of Arc, he feels "to sacrifice what [one is] and live without belief, that's more terrible than dying".