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Freedom Of Choice In Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange

992 words - 4 pages

“Goodness is something chosen. When a man cannot choose he ceases to be a man.” In the novel, A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess, the protagonist, Alex is faced with many opportunities to make choices. Although the majority of Alex’s choices are bad, they are still choices. Alex’s freedom of choice is ripped from him when he becomes the subject of an experiment that forces him to make good choices, however, he is still the same bad person even through this control mechanism. It is only when he is presented with the freedom of choice again, that he becomes a good person, is truly cured.

Alex exerts his freedom of choice in all aspects of his life. From the time he wakes up in the morning, until he goes to bed at night. Every decision he makes belongs to him. The only person who controls Alex is Alex. He does what he wants, when he wants to. He doesn’t care who he hurts along the way as long as what he is doing makes him happy.

The things that make Alex happy are very different from the average person. Alex finds happiness in hurting others. He and his friends, his droogs, spend their evenings robbing the town and the people in it just for the sheer thrill of it. Alex doesn’t care about money. In fact he even says that “money isn’t everything.” Alex and his droogs beat up and rob a man just to turn around and practically give the money away so that they will have an excuse to go rob another store. It’s just a game to them.

This nightly ritual of wreaking havoc, this “same time same place tomorrow” eventually catches up with little Alex. When an attempt to break into an elderly woman’s home for a little bit of “crasting” and some “ultra-violence” goes awry, Alex is apprehended by the millicents and dragged down to the police station. When news arrives that the woman whose house he broke into passes away in the hospital, Alex says “That was everything. I’d done the lot, now.” He knows that he has done the worst thing he could do: murder. But Alex feels no remorse for what he did. He is found guilty and sentenced to fourteen years in prison.

Two years into his sentence, an opportunity arises for Alex to regain his freedom. Or so he thinks. The technique is one that “gets you of prison in no time at all and makes sure that you never get back in again.” This technique does not offer true freedom. It does quite the opposite. It takes away its subjects freedom of choice. It forces them to choose goodness over badness no matter what. It...

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