A Clockwork Orange: Violence and Corruption

Alex, the fifteen year old narrator of Anthony Burgess’s novel, A ClockworkOrange, lives in a society where violence reigns. This novel has a very directnature, and is often blunt to the point of offense, but this makes it morepowerful and helps to further its point. This point is that everyone is out forthemselves, whether they be the police, government or citizens of this society.

In this book, the police can be just as violent as Alex and his droogs,or gang. In fact, by the end of the novel, his droogs have themselves becomethe police. The police have no qualms about beating people almost to the pointof death as they do with Alex both at the beginning, …they all had a turn,bouncing me from one to the other like some very weak bloody ball…and fistingme in the yarbles and the mouth and the belly and dealing out kicks…I wassick…on the floor… (70) and at the end of the book for no other reason thanthey feel like it. …It was all panting and thudding against this likebackground of whirring farm engines…(150)

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There seems to be no differencebetween the people being beaten by streets punks such as Alex and the police,who are supposed to protect them. The novel begins with the police doing littleto protect the citizens, for how else could a fifteen year old kid and three ofhis friends rule the streets? They also seem to relish beating Alex for thereason that they don’t get to do it often. However, by the third part of thisbook, crime is almost non-existent, but the police are far more brutal.

Neither of these scenarios is the better of the two. In fact the cops are notout to help the people, they only want to serve themselves. Alex, during hisfirst beating, confesses and hands his droogs to the police, but the police donothing to capture them. The reason the people are so afraid …then a boltdrawn, then the door open an inch or so… (19-20) is that they have to be,since no one else seems to care about their well being.

The government is not much better. These corrupted individuals are onlyout for themselves. They are in power, like it, and want to stay there as longas possible. To achieve this end they will both tell the people what they wantand then do it for them. One example of this deals with crime. The citizens ofthis society are fed up with it so the government gets rid of it using brutalcorrupt cops. The way that had been cleaned up, there being no longer anydirty, ballooning slovos… (132) Since the People are not seeing the crimesof the police, they believe that the government is protecting them and so areappeased. Another example of this deal more directly with Alex.

The citizenswant everyone to be good and peaceful. The government to show this take away aperson’s free will to be bad. Thus the citizenry believe the criminals havebeen reformed when in truth they have only been forced to do good, as they didwith Alex. Then when the people realize they prefer free will, the governmentgives this back to Alex. The government is at the top and they like it there sothey will do anything to stay there.

Thought the government and the police are both very cruel to the peoplethis does not mean that the people themselves are good. This is shown in manyways. One such way is that the police were once common citizens themselves soit follows that their behavior is that of the people. Another example of thisinvolves one of Alex’s former victims. At the beginning of the book, Alex andhis droogs attack an old man carrying books. When Alex is released, this sameold man beats him in revenge. …starting to deal me malenky weak hits in mystomach… (144)

The prey becomes the predator. This shows that given achance, even those who are supposed to be good will stoop to the level of thestreet punk. Another example of this is shown with the people who eventuallytry to help Alex. F. Alexander, the writer of the book A Clockwork Orange fromwhence the novel is named, does help Alex only for his own ends, and even harmsAlex “…I could hear music coming out of the wall, real gromky, and it haddragged me out of my bit of sleep…” (166-167) if he thinks that will help hiscause more. These are just a few examples of how the people are just as corruptas the government.

Everyone in this novel is violent, from the cops to the government to theold men who spend their days in the library. However, Alex’s and othercriminals, such as Pete, one of Alex’s former droogs, are in many ways betterthan the other members of this society because they grow up. They grow tiredof the violence and decide to settle down and start families. This is somethingthe citizens, police and government never learn. A young woman defends herselfby beating Alex at the beginning of the novel, and an old man beats him at theend.

The government change him one way at the beginning, and still notsatisfied, change him again at the end. The police beat him at the beginningand the end. Even Alex’s social worker spits on him. However, maybe we seehope for the future with the true change in Alex at the end of the novel.

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A Clockwork Orange: Violence and Corruption. (2019, May 03). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/a-clockwork-orange-violence-and-corruption/