Free Essays - A Clockwork Orange


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 Clockwork Orange
      by
   Anthony Burgess


 This novel is short–only being about 180 pages–but looks may
deceive you, or in other words don’t judge a book buy its cover or its
thickness. A Clockwork Orange is actually 360 pages because you
have to read between the lines. You may think that the story’s theme is
that the future will be filled with horrible decadent violence (that is what
I first thought), but if you read between the lines you will understand
that this book is written for one main purpose, a purpose other than
entertainment.
    A Clockwork Orange was written in 1962,  story about the future
which was meant to be around 1995 to 2000 (a car used in the story
called a 95' Durango). A boy about seventeen, Alex the narrator and
main character living in London, rampages about with his “droogs”
(friends) raping, stealing, beating and even killing people. Alex one day
is caught for murder and jailed but two years later he is luckily freed
twelve years before his sentence ends to take advantage of a new
treatment for violent people like him that he volunteered for. He goes
through the therapy and succeeds and returns back to civilization. He
now becomes sick when he is about to commit a violent or sexual, but
also when the Ninth Symphony by Beethoven plays (a minor defect
from the treatment). Alex is driven to attempt suicide from this defect
because he is locked within a chamber playing this song and does not
accomplish his task. He is hospitalized and returns to his “ultra-violent”
self while the inhumane treatment does not work because it does not
even give people a choice about being violent.
 While Alex helps to present the theme, two different outcomes are
formed. First, Alex goes through a great change from being “ultra-
violent” to becoming Lamb-chop and then back to being “ultra-violent”.
Second, the theme defines the major conflict of the story. Although the
conflict does not have to do with Alex directly, he helps to illustrate it.
The conflict is not solved in the book and will probably never be solved,
but it does bring up for debate what Anthony Burgess thinks about right
or wrong, regarding  the controversial situation of a cycle of violence.
“Violence makes Violence,” is what was once said to Alex by  P. R.
Deltoid, his teacher from school before he went to prison. This book
brings up . What do we do to someone who has committed a violent
crime? Do we punish them with more violence, for instance death, or do

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we help them? This is the problem that has arisen in this story and also
in our daily lives with the death penalty. Anthony Burgess thinks that
the solution to violence should not be violence, but he does not give any
alternatives.
 In  A Clockwork Orange a new treatment for disturbingly violent
criminals is developed by scientists working for the English government
and the government tests it on some convicted violent prisoners. The
treatment guaranteed that the patient would turn good and be let out into
the free world again. Alex was one of the lucky (because of reduced
sentence) people chosen. The treatment includes long days of watching
violent movie clips while a patient is hooked up to a lot of hardware.
The treatment works because now when a ex-criminal sees or are about
to commit cruel violent or criminal or sexual acts you become sick and
cannot perform the task. This procedure was thought of to end violence
without causing violence, because every action causes a reaction. For
example, when Alex was free to return to his life, his “droogs” betray
him and beat him up severely in payback for his cruel ruling as leader of
the team of friends. This might cause Alex to come back and hurt them
again, which he considers. This causes a chain of violence that may take
years to end. When Alex is about to go to Dr. Brodsky (the man who
will cure him), the governor speaks to Alex. He told him about how
these new radical ideas and methods of treatment have been formed
(from “ultra-violent” to a lamb), and he does not approve of them. “If
someone hits you, you hit back, do you not,” the governor said to Alex.
The governor means that for each action there will be a solution of even
more violence. The preceding brings up the question of turning the bad
into the good or the “state should hit back” also like the convict. One
thing that is important here is that the state does not care about turning
the bad into good, but on cutting down on crime and the only way to do
that is cut down on the number of criminals. But by doing that with
“just” ways. In the end this resolution is just another violent punishment
because it does not give people freedom and it can then lead to death. In
Alex’s case he tried to commit suicide. As you see this problem of
settling what to do to criminals is already very complicated to solve and
may never be solved, but as it says in the Old Testament, murder will
result with murder (of the criminal) or in other words violence makes
violence.
 This problem is not for me to solve, but I think that an innocent,
good and hardworking person such as for example Alex’s parents
should have the right to live in peace. Therefore, one goal to gain more
peace is to try to lessen crime, and to do that, punishments have to be
given. If a hoodlum were unpunished he would think he could freely
commit horrible crimes again. This means that the convict has to be
stopped and taught a lesson before innocent and peaceful people get
hurt. Consequently, protecting good people is more important than not
punishing a criminal because the good people might get hurt and not the
criminal. Now only the judge has to choose who is good and bad.
 The book and the movie complement each other. First, the book is
less discrete with the theme and the theme in the movie is very direct.
Second, after reading the book any questions you might have are solved
in the movie because the movie is much more clear and it is also made
for an audience with less intelligence, who come to see violence.
Finally, both the movie and the book are alike except that there is more
description in the book and more in-between time between all the
important events in the book. Otherwise, if you read the book first and
see the movie second, you will understand the question brought up by
the theme. I liked the fact that there were more that 300 words not in
English, which were invented by the author and made from Russian,
therefore I had to look up a lot of words in the index, but it was
entertaining reading like that. The thing I liked most about the book is
the controversial question brought up and trying to solve it myself. I
cannot think of any dislikes about the book, but I unlike Anthony
Burgess, I think that there should be a solution to. You may ask what
was between the lines and now you get your answer: Anthony Burgess
explains how violence is not a solution to violence (violence makes
violence), and that is the theme of A Clockwork Orange.  

 

 


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