A Clockwork Orange By Anthony Burgess Essay

A Clockwork Orange By Anthony Burgess Essay

Length: 1013 words (2.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The idea of one being free or not free is greatly debated for the main character, Alex, in A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess. Almost anyone, when asked, will say that they believe they are free because they are able to make their own decision and can do what they choose, also known as free will. But to what extent are you truly free? It all comes down to what you consider it means to be free. According to critic Samuel McCracken, there is a definite difference between free will and free choice. He argues that Alex is not deprived of free will, rather than free choice. Samuel McCracken explains that in order to be “brainwashed’ one must be provided with a new set of opinions and values. Throughout the novel, there isn’t a point in which Alex is provided with new values or where his reaction to sin is no other than what it has been, violence (McCracken 277). Some might point out the difference between being free mentally and being free physically. In Alex’s case, he is both free and unfree to different degrees at certain times throughout the novel.
Certainly in the beginning of the novel, Alex is mentally and physically free. Alex and his droogs were sitting in the Korova Milkbar trying to decide what they were going to do (Burgess 3). Clearly Alex isn’t forced to be in a specific place or trapped in some way, therefore, physically he is free. Alex is able to be where he wants to be, much like you and I. He also has the ability to make his own decisions, and those of his droogs. Alex does what he wants to do and gives orders. He argues that he is the leader of his group when he states, “I have been in charge long now” (Burgess 22). This points out the fact that he is mentally free. Alex even has the power to lie his way out of...


... middle of paper ...


... wait to get out of prison so that he could go back to living his life. Except now, he suddenly grows up. He states that he is now “. . . like growth up. . .” and is “. . . seeking like a mate” (Burgess 121). Technically Alex is free because he is out in the world doing what he chooses, but mentally he is unfree due to his decisions being influenced by his past conditioning.
There are many different views about freedom. One may be free both mentally and physically. Alex comes across this dilemma multiple times throughout the novel. At some points, he does what he wants to do and makes his own choices. At other points, he is unable to do what he wants and is limited to a couple of choices because of the restrictions the treatment brought on. Therefore, Alex is both free and unfree but to different degrees, such as mentally and physically, throughout the entire novel.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange Essay

- Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange Choice and free will are necessary to maintain humanity, both individually and communally; without them, man is no longer human but a “clockwork orange”, a mechanical toy, as demonstrated in Anthony Burgess’ novel, “A Clockwork Orange”. The choice between good and evil is a decision every man must make throughout his life in order to guide his actions and control his future. Forcing someone to be good is not as important as the act of someone choosing to be good....   [tags: Anthony Burgess Clockwork Orange Essays]

Better Essays
1483 words (4.2 pages)

Analysis Of Anthony Burgess 's ' Clockwork Orange ' Essay

- Anthony Burgess integrates many social issues today between the Government and People into Clockwork Orange. Many of the issues that Alex faces along with the government are relatable in today’s society. Within the story Anthony Burgess teaches us how people act and how the government works in a more brutal way, The Clockwork Orange expresses this through free-will, maturity and karma, and treatment of people. Free-will is a major part in the actions of this book. “The free will compels him to murder and rape, but also foster his esteem.” (LifeCharts)....   [tags: Gang, Crime, Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange]

Better Essays
1365 words (3.9 pages)

A Clockwork Orange By Anthony Burgess Essay

- The idea of one being free or not free is greatly debated for the main character, Alex, in A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess. Almost anyone, when asked, will say that they believe they are free because they are able to make their own decision and can do what they choose, also known as free will. But to what extent are you truly free. It all comes down to what you consider it means to be free. According to critic Samuel McCracken, there is a definite difference between free will and free choice....   [tags: Choice, Free will, A Clockwork Orange, Mind]

Better Essays
1013 words (2.9 pages)

Anthony Burgess and A Clockwork Orange Essay

- Imagine existing in a world run by sadistic and insane street gangs who reek havoc on innocent civilians, and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. Anthony Burgess created this world through his novel, A Clockwork Orange. Anthony Burgess was born in 1917 and died in 1963. A lot of social changes occurred during this period of time, such as: the roaring twenties, prohibition, the Great Depression, World War II, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and many more. Burgess not only lived through those changes, but also helped influences some social changes in literature and music....   [tags: A Clockwork Orange]

Better Essays
978 words (2.8 pages)

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess Essay

- A Clockwork Orange is a book written by Anthony Burgess. It takes place in a somewhat futuristic Britain. The book is written with the point of view of the anti-hero, Alex. Alex is a 16 year old criminal who is involved in rape, violence, murder and robbery throughout the book. The book is divided into three parts, each part with seven chapters (three times seven is twenty-one, the official age of adulthood in Britain, where the book takes place). The first half of the book focuses on Alex’s criminal lifestyle, the second focuses on Alex’s rehabilitation in prison, and the third is based on Alex’s entry back into society....   [tags: Clockwork Orange Burgess]

Free Essays
1517 words (4.3 pages)

A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess Essay

- Imagine having stolen, raped, and even murdered all at the age of 15. The new canon of dark literature and controversy has finally hit the stage. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess written in 1962 could only be described in the old cockney expression “queer as a clockwork orange”. Meaning it is bizarre internally, but appears natural on the surface. The story begins with the protagonist and narrator Alex a 15-year-old boy, who sets the bar for the most cold-blooded and callous characters of literature....   [tags: alex, burguess, linguistic adventure]

Better Essays
1024 words (2.9 pages)

Essay on A Clockwork Orange By Anthony Burgess

- “While physics and mathematics may tell us how the universe began, they are not much use in predicting human behavior because there are far too many equations to solve,” (Stephen Hawking). People on a day to day basis do many actions without realizing it and most of the time they do not know why they make them. All organisms, including human beings, are highly influenced by the consequences produced by their own behavior. In the book A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, Alex the narrator, is a wild and young boy who along with his friends gets a high by causing harm to others by committing acts of robbery and rape....   [tags: Classical conditioning, Operant conditioning]

Better Essays
1442 words (4.1 pages)

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess Essay

- Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange has been placed under much scrutiny by literary critics and readers everywhere. Furthermore, this highly criticized novel contains a myriad of ways to engage with the work, whether it is from the psychological or ethical perspective. Through College Literature Journal’s article “O My Brothers”, the unnamed author draws interesting connections between the main character’s development and how pseudo-families and pseudo- self plays a part on this said development....   [tags: Pseudo Family, Pseudo Self, Literary Analysis]

Better Essays
1947 words (5.6 pages)

Free Will in Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange Essay

-      Is it better to be a man choosing wrong than a man who is forced to choose right. In the classic novel, A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, a theme emerges. This is the theme of free will. Through the main character, Alex, Burgess is able to convey his ideas about free will and the oppressive nature of establishments such as governments and the media. Aside from these suggestions made by Burgess the question persists: When a man ceases to choose, is he still a man.      Free will is one of the features that separates us as humans from animals and allows us to attain intelligent thought and reasoning....   [tags: Free Will Burgess Clockwork Orange Essays]

Better Essays
577 words (1.6 pages)

Essay on A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

- A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess Anthony Burgess is a very strange author. He had a really weird vision of the future. I feel he did a great job describing his viewpoint. Anthony Burgess is not only a novelist, he also has written several plays, and even composed a few symphonies. He was born in 1917, and died in 1991. He first published "A Clockwork Orange" in the U.S. in 1962 and initially it had 20 chapters, one less than he had written. The version I read was reprinted in 1986 with that last, 21st chapter....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
420 words (1.2 pages)