A Clockwork Orange Notes
Novels are equipped to depict human psychology but are not equip to portray abstract concepts of institutional authority and agency. Alex’s fare in AClockwork Orange is tied to the fate of the novel. It is a drama about the fate of the novel. Burgess failed to consider that institutions neutralise threats to them by deferring threats. Alex believes he is a freedom fighter but the government sees him as a juvenile delinquent. They use this definition to introduce the Ludovico Technique. By acting this way Alex is indirectly facilitating the use of such techniques so the government lets him do what he wants to so they can implement such techniques. Therefore, they do not clean up the streets straight away. Reason he acts bad it is the binary opposite to what government expects but they define what opposite is. They have a vested interested in his criminality. Pg45: Alex commits crimes because he wants to.
His aesthetic tastes are socially/institutionally conditioned. He does not act. He reacts. Alex’s aversion to strong smells and untidy appearances: pg16 he sees an untidy drunk and beats him. The old man’s lack of self respect is reflected in his untidy clothes and drunkenness. Alex believes personal flaws are demonstrated by outward appearance. Billyboy is smelly. Though his offence is different to the drunk he still denotes a character flaw. He literally stinks of poverty. He could steal the things needed to hide his poverty (deodorant/new cooking oil) but because he doesn’t this implies that he like the drunk has a lack of self respect. LINK: between others aesthetic fault and Alex’s crimes/violence. Alex seeks to punish those that ruin his environment. Alex’s crimes are catalyzed by Alex’s sense of justice. At the beginning when the gang rob the merchant, Dim returns to the milk bar looking like he has been in a fight. Alex is angry but not because Dim’s appearance give away their crime but because of Dim’s disregard for self presentation and the arts/ aesthetic appreciation. Alex gives himself the authority to punish those who ruin his environment because the “big other” authority are the only ones who could change the environment in which he lives for the better. The world Alex finds unsatisfactory is unchanging regardless of his crimes. The flat block is un-descriptive. It doesn’t even get a name, only a number: 18A Page21: Alex and gang stop to rest after the Billyboy fight. They look at the huge flat block and everybody is watching TV. Mimes the mass culture. On that night, even the pretence for choice and difference is dropped as everybody is watching a “world cast.” Nothing in the world that makes morality necessary except morality itself. (Look up the term “dynamic sublime”) Dynamic sublime linked to enormity of flat block and world cast programme. Seeming natural collusion of culture and industry: The fact that Alex remarks on the TV programme is a credit to Alex’s sublime sensibility that he can perceive the moral issues at work. Flat Blocks: Proof that city planners and government make good to care for the people. However, there is an ulterior motive... the placing of the blocks in the city centre make the inhabitants more efficient for working and so benefit the system. Pg 35/36: municipal painting on the walls coveys the idea that instinctual needs and desires are satisfied by the institutional work routines e.g.: working at the state-run supermarkets. But, while they seem to fulfil these needs and desires, the routines actually limit the scope of satisfaction. The public is conditioned not to begrudge its aesthetically impoverished environment. The implied obscenity of the message is so transparent that youths in the building scrawl over officially sanctioned obscenity with indecencies of their own. Dignity of labour is a false ideology/trick of power. The fact that people draw on it shows that people already knew this and just ignore/suppress it. The fact that...
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