The concept of belonging is essential. To belong is to form a connection which will allow a sense of identity to manifest, without this we lose our humanity; however, conformity is in a sense a facade of belonging, as it restrains our freedom and forces us to only mimic. My studied texts show how society demands us to conform, yet conformity prevents a sense of true identity being created.
This notion is elaborated within the novel, A Clockwork Orange, a dark testimony to the power of the individual and the malevolence in forced conformity. The protagonist, Alex, is a criminal who doesn’t belong anywhere within society. In the novel, the government attempts to suppress his criminality by physically preventing him from thinking of violence—thus making him conform to their standards. This is allegorical for how society attempts to make us conform to what is considered ‘normal’.
Towards the end of the novel, the character F. Alexander tells Alex: “They have turned you into something other than a human ... being. You have no power of choice any longer. You are committed to socially acceptable acts, a little machine capable only of good.”The quote shows us the central theme of the novel; if we cannot choose where we belong we lose our humanity—thus showing us the value of choice as well as the value of individuality.
The metaphor and imagery of the title, a clockwork orange, symbolises what conformity does to a man. If we cannot choose where to belong we cease to be human but clockwork, or some type of deterministic mechanism. We need to be able to choose where we belong for if it is not chosen, its authenticity ceases. The novel ends with Alex choosing the path of goodness, the established normality of society. He states; “Perhaps I was getting too old now for the sort of life I had been leading, brothers” Alex chooses to belong to society, thus allowing a connection to be formed between him and the world. This sense of belonging is authentic as he has...
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