A Clockwork Orange1

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A Clockwork Orange1

A Clockwork Orange
The freedom of choice and the rehabilitating form of corrections encase the realm of A
Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess. It produces the question about man's free will and
the ability to choose one's destiny, good or evil.

"If he can only perform good or only perform evil, then he is a clockwork
orange-meaning that he has the appearance of an organism lovely with colour and juice but
is in fact only a clockwork toy to be wound up by God or the Devil or State"(Burgess ix).

Burgess expresses the idea that man can not be completely good or evil and must have both
in order to create a moral choice. The book deals upon reforming a criminal with only
good morals and conditioning an automated response to "evil." Burgess enforces the idea
of the medical model of corrections, in terms of rehabilitating an offender, which is up
to the individual. That one should determine the cause and then find an exclusive
treatment to resolve that individual's case, then apply it. This is the case with the
character Alex, a juvenile delinquent introduced into prisonization then conditioned by
governmental moral standards. This lack of personal moral choice imposed upon Alex
creates conflicting situations in which he has no control over. This is apparent when
trying to readjust into society. As conflicts arise within the spectrum of criminal
justice the main focus is revolved around the corrections aspect of reforming the criminal

Within the confines of the seventies Londoner. The character, Alex is created as the
ultimate juvenile delinquent leading a small gang. Living within his own world the use of
old Londoner language and attire reflect the non-conformity with society. Let loose
within a large metropolitan, Alex is engulfed in the affairs of several criminal
practices, from rape to aggravated assault. As a juvenile delinquent, Alex is finally
caught and seen as an adult offender. Like all offenders he promotes his innocence and
sets blame upon his companions. "Where are the others? Where are my stinking traitorous
droogs? One of my cursed grahzny bratties chained me on the glazzies. Get them before they
get away. It was their idea, brothers. They like forced me to do it"(Burgess 74).

Betrayed by his cohorts Alex is beaten by local officials and confesses to all the crimes.
As a point to retribution a sergeant states, "Violence makes violence"(Burgess 80) and
proceeds to through Alex back into the cell. All the while Alex detests the treatment and
conditions of the local jail, " So I was kicked and punched and bullied off to the cells
and put in with about ten or twelve other plennies, a lot of them drunk"(Burgess 81).
Unlike the fair treatment of most juveniles Alex was finally getting the taste of adult
corrections, being held in a drunk tank along with other felons. Faced with the reality
of prison life, Alex is introduced to prisonization by the same system which incarcerated
him. Showing him one must be tough and violent to survive within the penal system.

The term prisonization refers to the effect when an offender is subjected to the culture,
morals, rules, and values of a penal institution. Then this is inscribed into his or her
own behavior and deems them fit as a norm. This is the case involving Alex when he must
prove his worth in a correctional institution by beating a fellow inmate.

"If we can't have sleep let's have some education, our new friend here had better be
taught a lesson I fisted him all over, dancing about with my boots on though unlaced,
and then I tripped him and he went crash crash on the floor. I gave him a real horror
show kick on the gulliver"(Burgess 102).

Although being brutal deems fit for Alex, he realizes that only repentance and good
behavior in the eyes of the officials can release him from the jaws of justices. So in
order to be viewed as a reforming criminal Alex turns to religion. As the prison minister
clearly states,

"Is it going to be in and out of institutions like this, though more in than out for most
of you, or are you going to attend to the Divine Word and realize the punishment that
await the unrepentant sinner in the next world, as well as in this?"(Burgess 90)

and the main focus for reforming is in the hands of God and individual
moral choice. Through religion Alex soon becomes a model prisoner, externally,
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