A Clockwork Orange: Review of Book and Firm Version
In A Clockwork Orange, Alex, the narrator and the main character, tells
the story of his teenage years, starting at fifteen. He begins his tale as the
leader of a small gang that spends its evenings pillaging and wreaking havoc on
the town until the gang mutinies and "Your Humble Narrator," as Alex refers to
himself, is caught by the police. From there, Alex travels to State Jail 84F to
serve 14 years, but receives an offer from "the Government" which entails
undergoing experimental treatment in return for early release. He seizes what
seems to him an opportunity, but is horrified by the "cure" he endures. The new
"good" Alex that is released unto the world is depressed, frustrated, and lonely,
although no longer violent. A radical political group then exploits him as an
example of the cruelty of "the Government." This faction tries to force Alex to
suicide in order to gain a martyr, but Alex's attempt fails and he is nursed
back to health and his natural mental state by the Government, who in the end
comes out on top.
Alex, whose last name is not mentioned in the book, is a violent,
aggressive teenager of fifteen, who is the leader of a four-person gang. He
truly enjoys violence, reveling in the sight of blood or weapons. Alex's love
of hate is not simply a rebellious emotion, but as he explains, it is his very
nature, and he could not change it if he wanted to. Despite his passion for
what most see as ugly and disgusting, Alex does have a great appreciation for
classical music, especially Beethoven.
Alex's main conflicts are both external and internal. His external
conflicts are between him and the members of his gang. Dim and Georgie, two of
the members of Alex's gang, are unwilling to accept Alex's leadership. They
challenge his authority, and Alex reacts rashly by trying to re- establish his
dominance through defeating both of his aggressors in fighting. This
confrontation only raises tensions within the gang, and leads to a betrayal
which results in Alex's capture on the charge of murder. Alex's main internal
conflict is a physiological one. The Government's experimental treatment which
Alex undergoes involves conditioning to produce a feeling of nausea and
overbearing fear when violent tendencies are encountered. Since Alex's nature
is to respond to situations violently, he is ruined by the conflict between his
physical and emotional feelings.
The climax of the book occurs at the end of Alex's conditioning, when he
is made to feel sick by his own true emotions, and he realizes fully that he
must change his entire way of life.
The major difference between the film and the book versions of A
Clockwork Orange was the lack of theme or meaning in the film. The film easily
conveyed all aspects...