Anthony Burgess via Alex DeLarge
Psychoanalysis is based on the idea that literature is an extension of the
conscious and subconscious mind. In a novel, the emotions of an author are manifested as a story of a protagonist and his world. The protagonist is created as the author’s persona, and the setting of the story parallels events from the author’s past. In Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange, the protagonist Alex DeLarge is a direct projection of Burgess’s psyche. Analysis of Burgess’s childhood confirms the psychoanalytic theory that Alex and his fictional experiences within A Clockwork Orange are the result of thoughts, fears, and desires that were suppressed by Burgess’s conscious mind throughout his life. Just as Burgess did, Alex struggles with developing and maintaining healthy relations, the choice between what is “right” and what is “wrong”, and the challenge of growing up.
The most influential part of a human’s life is their relationship with their parents. All independent adult actions are based on the initial interactions between parent and child. Burgess’s mother died shortly after his birth. Blamed for taking his mother’s life by his father, Burgess was sent to live with his aunt. The relationship between child and parent was absent throughout Burgess’s entire childhood, and it is because of this that Alex DeLarge has his own “mommy and daddy issues”. The first similarity between Alex and Burgess is discussed quite briefly when Alex comes home after a fun night with his droogs, or friends. After coming home late and going into his room to play loud music, Alex is full of pride and joyfully explains that “[p]ee and em (pa and ma, dad and mom) in their bedroom next door had learnt now not to knock on the wall with complaints of what they called noise” (Burgess 37). Alex’s parents cater to his every need, so when he wants to be left alone, Alex’s parents make it seem as though they are nonexistent. Anthony Burgess’s childhood desire to have a mother and father role model is expressed through Alex’s disregard for his uninvolved parents. Looking deeper into Burgess’s dysfunctional family life, it is evident that the lack of a mother figure in his life affected his feelings toward male adults. Motherly behavior is characteristic of women, and not common in men. Burgess never had a kind male adult in his life, so Alex interacts accordingly: he deals with hostile men and few women. Once waking up at F. Alexander’s house, Alex is surprised by his kindness, and refers to him as a “…kind protecting and like motherly veck (guy)” (Burgess 177). This is the first time that Alex has been treated well by an adult male, so he automatically associates F. Alexander with the word “mother”. The preconceived negativity and disbelief in successful, lasting relationships affects the way Burgess, and Alex, developed socially.
Parental relations are crucial to the normal development of children because it provides them with an...