Alex, the fifteen-year-old narrator of Anthony Burgess's novel, A Clockwork
Orange, lives in a society where violence reigns. This novel has a very direct
nature, and is often blunt to the point of offense, but this makes it more
powerful and helps to further its point. This point is that everyone is out for
themselves, whether they be the police, government or citizens of this society.
In this book, the police can be just as violent as Alex and his droogs,
or gang. In fact, by the end of the novel, his droogs have themselves become
the police. The police have no qualms about beating people almost to the point
of death as they do with Alex both at the beginning, "...they all had a turn,
bouncing me from one to the other like some very weak bloody ball...and fisting
me in the yarbles and the [mouth] and the belly and dealing out kicks...I [was]
sick...on the floor..." (70) and at the end of the book for no other reason than
they feel like it. "...It was all panting and thudding against this like
background of whirring farm engines..." (150) There seems to be no difference
between the people being beaten by streets punks such as Alex and the police,
who are supposed to protect them. The novel begins with the police doing little
to protect the citizens, for how else could a fifteen year old kid and three of
his friends rule the streets? They also seem to relish beating Alex for the
reason that they don't get to do it often. However, by the third part of this
book, crime is almost non-existent, but the police are far more brutal.
Neither of these scenarios is the bet...
... middle of paper ...
...of the violence and decide to settle down and start families. This is something
the citizens, police and government never learn. A young woman defends herself
by beating Alex at the beginning of the novel, and an old man beats him at the
end. The government changes him one way at the beginning, and still not
satisfied, change him again at the end. The police beat him at the beginning
and the end. Even Alex's social worker spits on him. However, maybe we see
hope for the future with the true change in Alex at the end of the novel.
Works Cited and Consulted
Aggeler, Geoffrey. Anthony Burgess: The Artist as Novelist. University: University of Alabama, 1979.
Burgess, Anthony. A Clockwork Orange. New York, NY: W W Norton & Company. 1986.
De Vitis, A. A. Anthony Burgess. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1972.
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