freeclo Freedom in Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange

freeclo Freedom in Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange

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Freedom in A Clockwork Orange                                                                                 


A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess tells a story about a young man and his choices of freedom.  The book asks the question "is it better to have someone constantly do the right thing, or to have the freedom of choice to do the right or wrong thing".  The author shows the affect of society on a human who has been institutionalized and let back into society.  The author of the book goes on to show how the protagonist copes with society under his given conditions.

"Georgie let go of holding his goobers apart and just let him have one in the toothless rot with his ringy fist, and that made the old veck start moaning a lot then, then out comes the blood, my brothers, real beautiful." (Page 7)  This had been an occurrence that took place when the protagonist was walking down the street with no apparent intention of harming anyone.  This occurrence shows the time in Alex's life where he is able to make decisions on his own, weather he chooses for those actions to be morally appropriate or not is up to his discretion. 

 "He has no real choice, has he?  Self-interest, fear of physical pain, drove him to that grotesque act of self-abasement.  He ceases also to be a creature capable of moral choice." (Page 126)  This is the occurrence of Alex's life after he has been arrested for his wrong doings and has been brought to the institute.  This is where the reform of Alex has occurred.  He had been tortured beyond his belief.  Now each time that Alex has a thought of an immoral deed he gets sick to his stomach.  Alex now has no choice of doing what he wishes to do; he has no real choice.  This is what the doctors and observers believe was the reform of Alex. 

 "I could viddy myself carving the whole litso of the creeching world with my cut-throat britva.  And there was the slow movement and the lovely last singing movement still to come.  I was cured all right." (Page 179)  The government does try to make Alex an unconditionally good person through institutionalization: however, since it is a forced goodness, conflicting his own will, a complete goodness is not attained.  This shows that the reform of Alex is now over and has no significance over him.

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  Now Alex can go about committing crimes as he had done before when he was younger.  This in turn shows the significance of the title in the characteristics of the clock.  As before Alex was able to make his own decisions without a problem, then he was reformed and now he is back to where he started and can now do as he wishes once again.

 "More and more these days I had been just giving the orders and standing back to viddy them being carried out.  So Bully cracked into him er er er, and the other two tripped him and kicked him." (Page 182)  Alex has now gone back to the same routine that he had when he was younger.

The examples stated above have shown how the life of Alex represents the cycle of a clock in the way that it starts at one point and then ends up at that point once again.  Another way that a clock could have represented Alex's life is the way that the pendulum of the clock works.  The swinging of the pendulum could have been the cause-and-effect relationship of Alex's life in the occurrence of his immoral decisions, and the reforms that occurred because of them.  A dominant theme used in the novel is the repetition of the phrase: "So what's it going to be then, eh?" (Various) at the beginning of a few sections throughout the book.  This shows the redundancy in the world around Alex that he in turn answers to.  This theme could also be associated to a clock in the way its repetition occurs as would the cycle of a clock.

 The author was trying to show that Alex symbolizes the orange in being the object that is being controlled as a mechanism.  He then goes on to show that this mechanism is controlled by the State and always ends up where it has started.  Therefor the author shows the cycle of a clock being the life of Alex and how at one time it is controlled by the State but, then goes back to where it had started
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