Individual Choice In A Clockwork Orange English Literature Essay
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A Clockwork Orange is a novel that shocks with its explicit violent images, its savage protagonist, difficult language and a cruel prophesy of the future. It is a novel which, with a help of Stanley Kubrick's film adaptation, became the main work associated with the name of Anthony Burgess. Burgess, however, was a very prolific artist. He wrote thirty-four works of fiction, fifteen nonfiction books including reviews and criticism, two biographies, plays, screenplays, translations and a great deal of music (Keen 10). Burgess never considered A Clockwork Orange his best novel and have always stayed disappointed that only this one brought him such a huge public attention. He believed he wrote far better, mature books and worried that he would become something of a shadow behind Kubrick's film adaptation (Clockwork vii). The author's anxieties came true, in a way, but the truth remains that although it is Stanley Kubrick who made A Clockwork Orange famous, it is Anthony Burgess who created a rare masterpiece that very few readers could stay indifferent to.
As Burgess himself admitted, A Clockwork Orange is a rather didactic novel. At one point of his life he became aware of the growing aggression and violence among the youth. In "A thousand words before breakfast" interview Burgess admitted, that however he despised teenage gangs, he strongly opposed to the proposals of using Pavlovian techniques to deal with violent citizens. He always believed in free will and freedom of choice. Burgess, as a Catholic, was sure, that only by choosing to do good one's soul can be saved. A Clockwork Orange condemns human conditioning and intends to promote the notion of individual choice (Clockwork ix). According to Burgess, it is better for human being to choose evil than not to have a freedom of choice at all. Free will is humans' greatest gift that should never be taken away. Burgess admitted, that promoting men's freedom is what he have always been trying to do in his work. What distinguishes A Clockwork Orange from other of his works, is also the special language he created for the novel and the fact, that for the first time he made such an explicit use of violence. As an author of a book such full of cruel and sexual images, Burgess was exposed to much criticism and accusation of promoting violence. The novel became to be read as a pure controversy and the intended didactic role was by many readers overlooked. Have the book became famous for its moral values, and not been read as a shocker, it would bring Burgess a completely different fame. Unfortunately for the author, for most people he would always be the one who dared to describe most abhorrent acts of violence and young people with a taste for hatred, blood and rape. But Burgess, in fact, does not like violence and presenting sex in his books. During the interview in Italy in 1974, Burgess said that he also included a biographic element in the book. His first wife have been attacked by a group of soldiers and despite it has not been a sexual attack but the act of robbery, it resulted in her having a miscarriage and supposedly, her eventual death. Burgess wrote a novel that seems to be pornographic but at the same time tries to preach, because such combination had a great chance to make A Clockwork Orange popular. In the same, Italian interview, Burgess stated: "Pornography and violence, and the teachy, preachy quality; and when you get these two together you normally produce a book that can become a bestseller."
A Clockwork Orange is a very controversial novel. Some call it pornographic, for others its violent imagery is almost impossible to stand. But Anthony Burgess surely did not mean to write a shocker. He aimed the novel to preach, even more than any of his previous works did before. Burgess meant to promote freedom of individual choice and to criticize anyone who would ever dare to take this precious gift away from the human being. Man is not to be conditioned and manipulated, since "when a man cannot choose he ceases to be a man (Clockwork 63)."
2. Pelagian and Augustinian points of view on Original Sin and Free Will and their reflection in Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange
Anthony Burgess frequently returned in his works to the conflict of authoritarian and libertarian ideas, which he called Pelagian and Augustinian points of view. Pelagianism is named after a monk who argued against the notion of Original Sin, Pelagius. According to G.F. Wiggers's Historical Presentation of Augustinism and Pelagianism from the Original Sources, Pelagius stated, that each infant is born in the same state as Adam has been before he sinned. Adam's sin injured only him and not his posterity, so there is no propagation of sin on the following generations. What follows, bodily death is not a punishment, but a necessity of nature. Pelagius believed that man was given free will and salvation is in human's hands, so he is able to do both good and evil. Man is even able, through repentance, to become good again after he has sinned. Consequently, there is an abstract possibility that all man can be perfect. Pelagius, thus, appears as an advocate of libertarian views.
The doctrine of Augustinism was quite the contrary. First of all, Adam's sin was propagated among all men, so each child is born with the Original Sin. The sin will always be propagated by the sensual lust in the act of procreation and all men are under the power of the devil from the very first moment they are born. As a consequence of the first sin, people suffer the punishment of physical death, pains of parturition and toil of labourers. Augustinism denied the notion of free will, and stated that the only freedom that man has is to sin. Freedom to resists sin has been lost also as a punishment. According to Augustinians, the nature of man is entirely corrupted. Man is always more likely to choose evil rather than good and the only help for a human being is God's grace (Wiggers 83-115).
Burgess often presents history as a cyclical shifts of Pelagian (libertarian) and Augustinian (authoritarian) parties. With authoritarians in power, stability is achieved by strict rules, laws and societal control. The faith in human perfectibility is growing, strict control of authoritarians seems unnecessary and finally, libertarian government gains control. This brings more freedom to the society, but with the contentment comes anarchy and the social stability is lost. There again, society cries for law and order and the new authoritarian party comes to rule. Such a change of governments in power is visible in A Clockwork Orange. The novel begins clearly with a portrayal of an anarchic society and Pelagians in power. After Alex, the protagonist, is released from jail, he realizes that new laws were established and the police forces grown bigger, which indicates that the country is run by Augustinians (Rabinovitz 43-46).
The conflict of Pelagianism and Augustinism is also visible in the novel's characters. The writer F. Alexander is a libertarian. He believes in human perfectibility. F. Alexander is an author of a book, "A Clockwork Orange" ("a fair gloopy title (Clockwork 18)", according to Alex) which presents its author's strongest libertarian views. For F. Alexander, human being is "a creature of growth and capable of sweetness (Clockwork 18)". Later in the novel, however, his hypocrisy comes to light, and when F. Alexander learns that Alex is the one who raped his wife, he agrees to the plan of driving the young criminal to suicide. Burgess here, by the inability of F. Alexander to stick to his faith, seems to slightly criticize Pelagianism. Young Alex, in opposition to F. Alexander, has many Augustinian characteristics. He is brutal, enjoys crime, holds power (at least at the beginning of the novel) among his "droogs" and does not believe in the goodness of the human being.
3. Radical behaviourism limiting the freedom of individual choice
Burgess strongly opposed to politicians who openly discussed possibilities of introducing conditioning as a way of eliminating criminal instincts. Very popular at that time became the doctrine of B.F. Skinner (1904- 1990) called radical behaviourism. According to Skinner, human behaviour can always be explained in purely physical terms and it can be shaped by operant conditioning through reinforcement and punishment (Encyclopaedia Britannica). Burgess was very much frightened by these new ideas of people-control, conditioning techniques and behaviourists' methods of reforming criminals.
After the attack on a cat-lady, Alex is deceived by his gang who no longer wants him as a leader and is caught by the police. This is a significant moment in the novel, since for the first time, Alex would be charged with a real punishment. He is taken away to Staja (State Jail) and becomes "6655321 and not your little droog Alex not no longer (Clockwork 57)". But however hard is life in prison for the young protagonist, Alex manages to adapt to the conditions rather well. He becomes a help to the prison chaplain and is allowed to listen to his beloved classical music of J.S. Bach or G.F. Handel. What is more, Alex finds a way to enjoy violence by reading the Bible:
I would read of these starry yahoodies tolchocking each other and then peeting their Hebrew vino and getting on to the bed with their wives' like hand-maidens, real horrorshow. That kept me going, brothers. (Clockwork 60)
Alex also, while listening to the classical music, imagines himself helping in the crucifixion of Christ and he generally concludes that "being in Staja 84F was not all that wasted (Clockwork 60)".
Despite everything, however, Alex wanted to be free and saw his chance in Ludovico's Technique. He hears about this new treatment in prison and volunteers to take part in the experiment. Alex is sure that the technique would get him out of prison, he thinks it would be the beginning of his freedom. Ludovico's Technique turns out to be a cruel conditioning method, turning Alex into a mindless and weak machine.
The Ludovico's Technique rests on Alex being strapped to a chair and forced to watch movies that consists of cruel and disgusting scenes of violence. He has both his hands and legs chained to the chair, and clips on his forehead so that he could not close his eyes. The movies' scenes include the beating of an old man by the young boys, with lots of blood all around, or a multiple rape on a young girl. He is also presented with a film about a Japanese torture during the World War II, where the soldiers are fixed to trees with nails, with fire set under them. The soldiers have their tongues cut off and there is also a scene of one soldier's head being sliced off with a sword. One of such movies is accompanied by the music of Ludwig van Beethoven so from then on, Alex is no longer able to listen to it, which means he is being bereaved of the one and only passion he has got apart from violence in his life, his love for classical music. Watching all the movies is a great torture for Alex, he screams, cries and feels really sick. But the reason of it is not his aversion to blood and violence, it is only the effect of the injections he gets. His personal, psychological attitude toward violence does not change at all. When the Discharge Officer asks him whether he want to hit him, he does, when asked about a job he might get after being set free, his first thought goes to theft. Day by day, however, Alex's organism begins to associate the sight of violence with the feeling of nausea. One time, he begins to crash his head against the wall out of desperation, but has to stop as soon as he realizes that this kind of violence is just like the violence from the films he sees every day. Alex feels sick at the very thought of violence but the treatment still goes on:
Every day, my brothers, these films were like the same, all kicking and tolchocking and red red krovvy dripping off of litsos and plots and spattering all over the camera lenses. It was usually grinning and smecking malchicks in the height of nadsat fashion or else teeheeheeing Jap tortures or brutal Nazi kickers and shooters. And each day the feeling of wanting to die with sickness and Gulliver pains and aches in the zoobies and horrible horrible thirst grew really worse. (Clockwork 87-88)
The Ludovico's Technique succeeds in making Alex a good boy. He cannot commit any act of violence any longer as gets sick even when thinking about crime. But the state of Alex's consciousness does not change, he does not understand that his violent ways were evil. He is now simply conditioned not to raise his fists against anyone, to the point that he is not even able to defend himself. Anthony Burgess creates a portrait of a human being deprived of his freedom and the right to choose, stripped out of his humanity. The Ludovico's Technique creates a clockwork- machine, which without understanding how and why, never again would dare to think about any acts of force.
4. The concepts of liberty
What is liberty has been discussed by philosophers from the beginning of our times. Generally, two kinds of liberty can be distinguished: the abstract one in our minds, the inner feeling of being free and freedom that we achieve by not being restrained by external circumstances. One can lack freedom to achieve goals because he/she has not got enough courage, power or abilities. The amount of freedom can also depend on laws, political order and other external forces. The two basic notions of liberty has been thoroughly discussed by Isaiah Berlin, the British liberal philosopher. In Berlin's Two Concepts of Liberty he established the notions of positive and negative liberty. The negative liberty defines to what degree one has, or should have control over his/her actions without the interference of other people, whereas the need of a person to be the master of one's own will and not to feel restrained by others is described as the positive liberty.
Restricting one's freedom by others is usually considered a negative phenomenon. However, the individual freedom cannot stay entirely unrestricted as it would lead to a complete social chaos. Philosophers such as Locke and Mill in England, or Constant and Tocqueville from France agreed, that there should exist a minimum amount of personal freedom that cannot be violated under any circumstances. The violation of such freedom makes the moral growth impossible, it prevents one from setting and pursuing goals. The line between the private life of the individual and the public authority should be drawn very clearly (Berlin 117).
Philosophers which were optimistic about human nature believed that it is possible to have a wide area of personal freedom and maintain the social order at the same time. Others, such as Hobbes, argued that humans need strict control of authorities to avoid their mutual destruction (121). Mill also agreed that coercion is to be justified whenever we want to prevent depriving people of each other's freedom.
4.1. The concepts of positive and negative liberty in A Clockwork Orange before the operation of the Ludovico's technique
At the beginning of the novel, Alex is completely free, meaning that he does whatever he wants and whenever he wants it. The police and the authorities are unable to control the young criminalist and he is fully aware of that. Alex breaks the law constantly but until the incident at the cat-lady's house, he has not suffered any consequences of his violent activities. Referring to the terminology of Berlin, the novel's protagonist enjoyed a total positive freedom, as he was self- confident and convinced of his impunity. The government, at least at the beginning of the novel seems powerless and unable to control the society, so Alex's negative freedom also stayed unrestricted.
The reader may get the idea of how carefree is Alex about the violence and crime just in the very first paragraphs of the novel:
Our pockets were full of deng, so there was no real need from the point of view of crasting any more pretty polly to tolchock some old veck in an alley and viddy him swim in his blood while we counted the takings divided by four, not to do the ultra- violent on some shivering starry grey-haired ptitsa in shop and go smecking off with the till's guts. (Clockwork 3)
Alex talks about the horrid violent activities as if they were simple childlike games. Neither does he care about his victims, nor he fears being punished. It seems like for him, other human beings are just puppets which can be used whenever he needs to steal money or have a little fun over the sight of their blood. Alex and his friends spends their time in a Korova Milk Bar, drinking milk laced with drugs, waiting for the drugs to start to "kick", so they could go out and enjoy themselves in stealing and assaulting other citizens. When they attack an innocent man, rip his clothes, books and beats him very hard, Alex refers to it as of the nice beginning of the evening:
We hadn't done much, I know, but that was only like the start of the evening and I make no appy polly loggies to thee or thine for that. The knives in the milk plus were stabbing away nice and horrorshow now. (Clockwork 8)
Later that evening they attack a nearby shop. The boys are then sure to provide themselves with the alibi by buying drinks to some old women sitting at the bar but that does not mean they are afraid of being caught by the police. Indeed, when two young police officers come and ask questions, they are unable to arrest the young criminals although they seem to know they are guilty of the assault. The authorities appear as having no control at all over the gang and Alex comments on the whole situation:
But myself, I couldn't help a bit of disappointment at things as they were those days. Nothing to fight against really. Everything as easy as kiss-my-sharries. (Clockwork 12)
The society in the first chapters of A Clockwork Orange is given too much of a negative liberty, there is chaos and nearly anarchy. Another Alex's victim, the old drunkard singing on the side of the road complains bitterly about the current state of the world. He doesn't want to live in a "stinking world like this (Clockwork 12)". When men are flying to the moon and spinning around the earth, there is "no attention paid to earthly law nor order no more (Clockwork 13)". Again, after the bloody fight with the rival gang ("this would be real, this would be proper, this would be the nosh, the oozy, the britva, not just fisties and boots (Clockwork 13)") the police comes but the boys manage to run away and the police officers does not even make an attempt to chase them. As Alex's Post-Corrective Adviser, P.R. Deltoid comments, "nobody can prove anything about anybody (Clockwork 30). Out of the two groups, the authorities and the young criminals, it is the latter who appears much smarter, while the police is slow and clearly powerless.
Still during the same night, Alex and his gang arrives (with the stolen car) at the cottage outside the town borders. The place is called HOME and to Alex, it is "a gloomy sort of a name (Clockwork 17)". The passages that follows here are filled with a horrible descriptions of violence and hatred. Ironically, the resident of the house, F. Alexander, is an author of a book, "A Clockwork Orange", which preaches about the belief in human goodness and praises liberal values. Alex manages to read an excerpt from it:
The attempt to impose upon man, a creature of growth and capable of sweetness, to ooze juicily at the last round the bearded lips of God, the attempt to impose, I say, laws and conditions appropriate to a mechanical creation, against this I rise my sword-pen. (Clockwork 18)
What happens to the person who believes in the human race, is that he is being cruelly beaten up and is made to watch his wife being raped by all of the young criminals in turns. In Stanley Kubrick's movie the scene was made even more revolting, as the gang members, while raping the innocent woman, were humming the joyful song- "Singin' in the Rain".
To many readers, the violence in the novel is so horrifying that it is hard to stand and the protagonist seems to be a psychopath. But Alex is fully aware of his actions. He knows what is right and what is wrong and he consciously chooses to be bad. He finds evil a natural part of human nature and is irritated with all the discussions about the causes of it:
But brothers, this biting of their toe-nails over what is the cause of badness is what turns me into a fine laughing malchick. They don't go into the cause of goodness, so why the other shop? If lewdies are good that's because they like it, and I wouldn't ever interfere with their pleasures, and so of the other shop. And I was patronizing the other shop. More, badness is of the self, the one, the you or me on our oddy knockies, and that self is made by old Bog or God and is his great pride and radosty. But the not-self cannot have the bad, meaning they of the government and the judges and the schools cannot allow the bad because they cannot allow the self. And is not our modern history, my brothers, the story of brave malenky selves fighting these big machines? I am serious with you, brothers, over this. But what I do I do because I like to do. (Clockwork 31)
Alex is surely a very bright boy. His thoughts very often struck the reader with quite an intelligence as for a teenager. He is right about the natural existence of both good and evil in the world and very accurately notices a general tendency to discuss the causes of human bad and not good behavior. Alex also argues for the human right of individual choice and opposes all the attempts to restrict his personal freedom.
What Alex does not realize, is that he already has a great amount of freedom. No authorities hold any power over him, neither the police, nor school or his parents. He lives in nearly a lawless world in which came true the most pessimistic ideas of philosophers: human beings, when given too much freedom, turn against one another and create a dark and chaotic kind of world. Another aspect of which Alex seems to be completely unaware of is the fact, that while enjoying his freedom to act as he pleases, he infringes the rights of others. The freedom of an individual should end when it starts to violate the liberty of another human being.
4.2. The end of Alex's limitless freedom
At the beginning of the novel Alex is presented as an unquestionable leader of his gang. But the other boys slowly grow tired of the dictatorship and decide to rebel. During the attack on the house of the rich old lady, Alex is tricked by his friends and is left behind to be caught by the police. This is the first time that the young criminal would meet the consequences of his actions. The police treats him badly. He is being beaten and offended, just as he used to treat his own victims. Nevertheless, Alex seems to be rather shocked that he can actually become a victim of violence too and the thought that he is being fairly punished does not ever cross his mind, not even after his victim's death. After his imprisonment, Alex's moods switches from feeling pity for himself ("I was not your handsome young Narrator any longer but a real strack of a sight (Clockwork 51)"), humiliating himself ("like some real bezoomny veck, I even said: 'Sorry, brothers, that was not the right thing at all. Sorry sorry sorry.' (Clockwork 52)"), to real anger and the feeling of injustice ("I thought to myself, Hell and blast you all, if all you bastards are on the side of the Good then I'm glad I belong to the other shop (Clockwork 53)"). The last of Alex's thought carries a very important message for the whole novel. It underlines the hypocrisy of those, who called themselves good people. The ones who are supposed to be the epitomes of goodness and defend the law, come out as capable of the same vulgarity and violence as Alex and his gang. Anthony Burgess manages to show how difficult and risky it is to classify the world in terms of goodness and evil. On the one hand, Alex only gets what he deserves, but on the other, how can the good be distinguished from the evil, if both turn out to be capable of committing a great wrong?
While doing his time in prison, one day, Alex hears about the "new like treatment that gets you out of prison in no time at all and makes sure that you never get back in again (Clockwork 62)". Alex becomes excited about the new technique but is not aware that what seems as an easy way to regain his freedom, would actually be a brutal end of it. From the very beginning, the prison chaplain warns Alex, that not only is the treatment still in its experimental stage, but it is also an extremely drastic technique. It seems that Anthony Burgess expresses here his deepest concern, the one about the necessity for the human being to have a freedom of individual choice. The very fundamental doubt, for the prison chaplain, is whether a man can be artificially made good:
The question is whether such technique can really make a man good. Goodness comes from within, 6655321. Goodness is something chosen. When a man cannot choose he ceases to be a man. (Clockwork 63)
The chaplain also thinks, that perhaps the one who chooses to be bad is in some way better than a person who has goodness imposed upon him (Clockwork 70). Also the Governor is against the Ludovico's Technique, as he sees a desire to get one's revenge as a natural part of human nature. Despite everything, however, after Alex beats another prisoner to death, he gets a chance to become a volunteer for the new treatment. He sees the event as the new beginning of his freedom. Now his criminal instinct will be killed. The evil will be turned into good.
At the beginning, Alex feels wonderful and very lucky. He is taken to a new white building, has a whole cell with a bed for himself, he gets a new clean pajamas, and is told that the whole treatment consists only in watching movies and getting an injection of vitamins after every meal. Ludovico's Technique however, turns out to be a cruel form of medical conditioning. Alex is stripped to a chair and forced to watch very drastic and abhorrent movies. The scenes he watches do not disgust him, as Alex himself used to take part in many awful acts of violence, but the injections he gets causes illness. His organism begins to associate the sight of the movies and nausea, so that he begins to feel sick even at the very thought of violence. After the treatment Alex is no longer violent, he is not even able to fight back or defend himself.
A day before Alex is to be set free, he goes through a trial. He is given his clothes, boots and razor back and is put in the middle of the big room with a full audience of important figures watching him. After the lights goes down and the spotlight comes on Alex, he sees a man coming up to him. The man welcomes Alex, referring to him as a "heap of dirt (Clockwork 92". He stamps of Alex's feet, scratches his face with a fingernail and goes on with offending him. When Alex attempts to get his razor out of his pocket, he immediately feels very sick. Knowing that to stop nausea he has to change his way of thinking, he becomes over-polite and even gets on his knees and licks the man's shoes. Later, on the scene appears a young and very beautiful girl. Alex comment on the impression that she made on him is very point-blank:
She came up towards me with the light like it was the like light of heavenly grace and all that cal coming with her, and the first thing that flashed into my gulliver was that I would like to have her right down there on the floor with the old in-out real savage (â€¦) (Clockwork 95)
But again he is quickly overtaken by the feeling of nausea and headaches and he has to think of some other way to get close to the girl. Alex assumes a very courteous tone, "let me worship you and be like your helper and protector from the wicked like world", he says, "let me be like your true king (Clockwork 96)".
Everyone except the prison chaplain is impressed by how the new techniques changed Alex. The chaplain although alcoholic and a slightly pathetic figure in the novel, is the only person who realizes the great wrong that has been done to the boy and he is certainly a spokesman for Burgess's views in a book:
Choice. He has no real choice, has he? Self-interest, fear of physical pain, drove him to that grotesque act of self-abasement. Its insincerity was clearly to be seen. He ceases to be a wrongdoer. He ceases also to be a creature of moral choice. (Clockwork 94)
What Burgess presents is not the success of the behavioural conditioning, but a man stripped out of his freedom of choice and what follows, of his humanity. Even Alex, at first so excited about the Ludovico's Technique, suddenly realizes what have been done to him: "Am I just to be like a clock-work orange? (Clockwork 94)", he screams at one point. Alex is turned into a true, but clockwork Christian. He is now always "ready to turn the other cheek, ready to be crucified rather than crucify. He feels sick even at the thought of killing a fly:
And that was right, brothers, because when he said that I thought of killing a fly and felt just that tiny bit sick, but I pushed the sickness and pain back by thinking of the fly being fed with bits of sugar and looked after like a bleeding pet and all that cal. (Clockwork 96)
Burgess's message is very clear. An "ideal citizen" should always decide for himself and not only be artificially made to be good. To have a chance for salvation, man has to choose good over evil. Either conditioned by Pavlovian, Skinner's or invented by Burgess Ludovico's technique, human being becomes not only weak but is also deprived of his dignity. What makes the man is his freedom, pride and ability to choose. Without them, he becomes nothing more but a machine, powerless creature in the hands of overwhelming science.
4.3. A clockwork orange set free
When Alex is set free again and out in the world, from the local newspaper he gets to know that the world he knew has changed dramatically. The streets are now clean, there is no anarchy anymore and the police is much tougher with the local crime. The freedom of citizens, especially their negative freedom has been restricted. The peace-loving ladies and gentlemen can stroll through the streets again, without the fear of being attacked by any young hooligans. Alex no longer feels like he rules the world, what surrounds him is all unknown to him, he feels sick all the time and do not have a place to go. He is no longer welcome to his home, his possessions have been sold and the new guy called Joy has taken his place and acts like a son to Alex's parents. People look different, fashion has changed and the music shop is now filled with pop music. But Alex in no longer able to enjoy his beloved classical music:
It was that these doctor bratchnies had so fix things that any music that was like for the emotions would make me sick just like viddying or wanting to do violence. It was because all those violence films had music with them. And I remembered especially that horrible Nazi film with the Beethoven Fifth, last movement. And now here was lovely Mozart made horrible. (Clockwork 104)
Feeling horrible all the time, Alex thinks of committing suicide and goes to the public library to find how to do it without pain, but again he gets nauseous at the sight of illustrations in medical books and the attempt to read the Bible fails him too. He is hopeless and cannot find himself in the new world. When he begins to cry and a very old man tells him he is far too young to die and still has everything in front of him, Alex replies bitterly: "Yes. Like a pair of false groodies (Clockwork 107)".
Alex's situations goes from bad to worse, when in the public library, he is recognized by the old man that years ago had been attacked by Alex and his gang. The old man with a group of other 90 year-olds starts to beat Alex very hard and he, out of fear of sickness and pain, makes no attempt to defend himself. When the police comes, it turns out that the officers are Alex's old enemy, Billyboy, and always the dumbest of Alex's friends, Dim. Criminals in the old world, they are now supposed to defend the law and order. They are still the violent hooligans they were before, only dressed in police uniforms. What happens is that they drive Alex to the countryside, beat him cruelly and leave him in a miserable state:
I was all dripping wet with this icy rain, so that my platties were no longer in the heighth of fashion but real miserable and like pathetic, and my luscious glory was a wet tangle cally mess all spread over my gulliver, and I was sure there were cuts and bruises all over my litso, and a couple of my zoobies sort of joggled loose when I touched them with my tongue or yahzick. (Clockwork 112)
In such terrible condition, Alex gets to a cottage called HOME. It is his second visit there, as years before he attack its owner and cruelly raped his wife. F. Alexander, however, does not recognise Alex and kindly invites him to his house. F. Alexander turns out to be a devoted libertarian determined to fight with the government:
Some of us have to fight. There are great traditions of liberty to defend. I am no partisan man. Where I see the infamy I seek to erase it. Party names mean nothing. The tradition of liberty means all. (Clockwork 119)
He is also an author of a book, "A Clockwork Orange", and this time Alex gets a closer insight to it:
It seemed written in a very bezoomny like style, full of Ah and Oh and that cal, but what seemed to come out of it was that all lewdies nowadays were being turned into machines and that they were really- you and me and him and kiss-my-sharries- more like a natural growth like a fruit. F. Alexander seemed to think that we all like grow on what he called the world-tree in the world-orchard that like Bog or God planted, and we were there because Bog or God had need of us to quench his thirsty love, or some such cal. (Clockwork 117)
But although F. Alexander opposed to depriving people of their free will and turning them into mindless clockwork machines, he himself tried to use Alex as his tool. At first, F. Alexander appears as a warm-hearted, decent man, he calls Alex a poor victim of a modern world, and a living witness to the cruel acts of the Government. But it quickly becomes clear that he also happens to forget that the boy is a real human being. Alex begins to be referred to as a tool, weapon and device to fight against the current state of the world. The boy soon realizes that he is going to be used again and tried to rebel against how F. Alexander and his friends treat him. He asks what he is going to get out of it all and whether anyone is able to restore him to who he was before. Unfortunately for him, F. Alexander begins to recognise him as the one who contributed to the death of his wife. He is taken to a hotel room, he feels tired, lost and confused. He realises what had been done to him, he knows he is now completely deprived of his humanity. When he decides to rest, he suddenly hears loud sounds of classical music which he cannot stand and in an act of desperation, he jumps out of the window. He does not die, however, and wakes up in a hospital. Suddenly everyone seems to care about him. F. Alexander's friends say that he serves liberty well and killed the Government, but Alex is aware now that they only used him and intentionally drove him to suicide. Even his parents visit him and they nearly beg him to come back home again. It is during the conversation with them that Alex realizes that the thought of violence does not make him sick anymore. The results of the Ludovico's Technique has been erased by another treatment. The method used to achieve that was "deep hypnopaedia", the term borrowed straight from Aldous Huxley's Brave New World (Seed 190). He is later visited and examined by a doctor, who stated that Alex is now cured. He sees a picture of a bird-nest and when he says he would love to smash the eggs against the wall, he feels just wonderful. Later in the day, Alex is visited by yet another guest, the very important Minister whom Alex already know. This time, Alex learns that it is F. Alexander who is defeated now, and the Government is Alex's best friend. He is being brainwashed again. He pose to a friendly photograph with the Minister, signs documents and as a gift from the Government he gets a stereo. When everyone begins to leave the room, Alex is left alone with his beloved classical music, a symbol of his freedom. He does not care who is right and who is wrong, he does not mind being treated as a tool anymore. As long as he has music and his own healthy free will, he is happy again, he is cured all right (Clockwork 132).
5. The novel's last chapter controversy
There are two version of A Clockwork Orange, the original one, and the US version in which the last chapter has been omitted and not restored until 1988. The last chapter in the original version of Burgess's novel carries the most significant message, the one of a man having a freedom of choice and being able to make the right, moral decisions. In the next but one chapter, Alex, the protagonist is being cured of all the effects of the Ludovico Technique. "I was cured all right (Clockwork 132)", as he states himself. Not only is he able to delight in the Beethoven's music again, but he also enjoys crime and acts of violence as much as he used to. What the final chapter presents, is Alex as a leader of a new teenage gang, spending time in Korova Milkbar, "tolchocking" people as he used to do. But something has change in Alex, he seems quiet and contemplative. "But somehow, my brothers, I felt very bored and a bit hopeless, and I had been feeling like that a lot these days (Clockwork 134)." He still carries on with the old ultra-violence, but he rather gives commands and only watches them being executed by his gang. Also, Alex begins to enjoy romantic songs that he earlier despised. "It was like something soft getting into me and I could not pony why (Clockwork 137)", he confesses. The final chapter ends with Alex meeting his old friend, Pete, who is now all grown-up and married to a beautiful girl. After the encounter, Alex gets even more sentimental. He has a vision of himself as an old man coming back from work to his home, with a woman greeting him with tenderness, and his son lying in a cot in other room. Suddenly Alex understands what is going on, "I knew what was happening, O my brothers. I was like growing up (Clockwork 140)". He realizes that his youth is gone, but being young is like being an animal, like a puppet, a small clockwork machine.
In the last chapter of the original version the protagonist undergoes a change, a moral growth as a natural consequence of growing up. He decides to give up his criminal life and he does so without any help from behavioural conditioning or medical treatment. The last chapter is essential for the novel, as it bears its moral integrity (Clockwork xx). After years of ultra-violence Alex, finally, chooses to be good out of his own free will. Another fact proving the high importance of the novel's final chapter is the author's careful construction of the book. Burgess divided A Clockwork Orange into three sections and twenty-one chapters in all. Twenty-one is the age of traditionally becoming an adult and it is in the twenty-first chapter that Alex decided to change his life (Clockwork xx).
The condition for the book to be published in the United States was that the final chapter should be dropped. It was said to be too optimistic and the novel ending with Alex returning to his violence was considered tougher and more realistic (Clockwork xxi). Burgess later regretted agreeing to the abridged version, as it destroyed both the novel's moral and structural integrity. He felt that the American readers got to know only the "clockwork" version of the protagonist (Seed 191). Unfortunately, since the US version was the one that Stanley Kubrick made his movie from, most people are familiar with the abridged, and not the original version of the novel. As a consequence of the last chapter's controversy, most people still consider A Clockwork Orange to be a shocking presentation of teenage violence rather than an important novel promoting the freedom of individual choice and faith in human ability of moral growth.
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