A Clockwork Orange - Essay

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A Clockwork Orange

Authors who write of other times and places help us to better understand our own lives. Discuss A Clockwork Orange in terms of that statement.
A "clockwork orange" can be described as something that has a convincing outer appearance yet in the inside is merely controlled by outer influences, such as a clock set in motion by its owner. In A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess takes us into the future where violent criminals are forced to be "good," and introduces us to Alex, a young teen who engages in a life of rape, ultra-violence, and Beethoven with his "droogs," or friends, and talks in the slang language of "nadsat." He goes through various phases in his life, evolving into a more mature level of thinking; each of these phases can be seen as clockwork orange. What makes this novel so realistic however, is how real Alex really is and how each of his phases into maturity represents a part of us. His youth is characterized as that of a rapist, practitioner of extremely violent acts, and a lover of Beethoven. These three adjectives point out what drives Alex's actions: emotion. He follows no moral code nor does he even have one. However, he does follow his natural desire to sin, and can thus be described as a clockwork orange in that his actions are controlled by his emotion. We can clearly see how Alex's inclination to do things that satisfy his emotion are strikingly similar to our desires to do the things that we want to do. This is the whole message behind the doctrine of original sin, where Adam's first sin against God carried into his descendants. All humans are born with the desire to do evil, and thus we can justify Alex's violent actions. Eventually, Alex's friends betray him and set him up to be imprisoned, where he is conditioned to hate evil and to become sick at the mention or thought of evil, as well as the music he so used to enjoy. Alex walks out as a new person: one who is totally "good," yet has no...
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