The Affect On Free Will Of A Clockwork Orange's 21st Chapter

1562 words - 6 pages

When I began my research for this essay, I had every intention on the slang words used in A Clockwork Orange. "The main sources for these additional terms are Russian. Although there are also contributions from, Gypsy, French, Cockney/English slang and other miscellaneous sources such as Malay and Dutch and his own imagination" (Vaccari). As intriguing as this was to me, I couldn't help but to stray from my intended topic. You see, I had obtained two different versions of the book, one English version and one American. The difference in the two is the absence of the final chapter. The book was released, as planned, by Burgess in 1962, with 21 chapters, broken into three different parts. Once the book was released in America, publishers cut the 21st chapter. Therefore, in the remainder of this essay I will explain how this affects the books meaning, my thoughts on the subject, and a few other topics of concern. First, a brief overview of the book, up to chapter 21, is needed. The novel begins with the protagonist, Alex, sitting in a bar with his friends, or "droogs", Pete, Gerogie, and Dim. This "milkbar" was a common hangout of the time. "They had no license for selling liquor, but there was no law against prodding some new veshes..." (Burgess, 1). Basically, they put certain drugs in the milk to avoid paying for a liquor license. This prepares the gang for their night of violence. The gang performs the same ritual nightly, until one night a woman bursts into song, and Dim makes an obscene gesture towards the woman. This angers Alex, as he is a lover of the arts. He punches his friend Dim, which in turn upsets the rest of the group. They are tired of being led by Alex, so they decide to set him up. They break into a woman's house, and when she calls the police, Dim strikes Alex in the face with a chain. They all run leaving Alex, alone, to be held accountable. At the station Alex is told the woman whom they had been beating has died at the hospital. This is where the first part ends. We have a new balance of power among the group, as Alex is incarcerated.In the second section of the book, Alex is sentenced to 14 years in prison. After serving two, he agrees to be a guinea pig for the government, and under goes an experimental rehabilitation. He is strapped into a chair with wires running from his different extremities. His eyes are propped open, and he is forced to view horrific events on a movie screen. Burgess explains, "It was the 1939-45 war, and there were soldiers being fixed to trees with nails, having fires lit under them, and having their yarbles cut off..." (p105). All the while Alex is being "cured from his evil ways by a drug that invoked a Pavlovian reaction against violence" (Recio). At every depiction of violence, Alex is injected with a drug to make him vomit. It becomes so severe that the mere notion of violence makes him ill. There is, however, an unexpected side affect. As I said earlier Alex loves the arts, especially...

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