A Clockwork Orange - Chapters 1-3 Discussion

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LoveHatesYou
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A Clockwork Orange - Chapters 1-3 Discussion

Post by LoveHatesYou » 02 Jan 2007, 13:19

Okay guys this is how were going to run this...

For now don't worry about where you are. I just wanmted everyone to know what we were reading and when we were meeting. I'm going to say the first three chapters is a good place to start, and we'll move on to the next 3 on Fri. Let me know if the pace work out, if not, I am happy to slow it down, or speed it up. I know some of you have read this before, as have I - and some of you want to read ahead. Read ahead if you like, but remember not to discuss too much in advance in here, as not everyone will have read that far, and we wouldn't want to ruin everyone's good time.

This forum is totally open. I will guide you with a couple of leading questions, and some themes I want you to watch, but feel free to bring to attention whatever you feel is of imporantance, or noteworthy.

A few rules:

NUMBER ONE MOST IMPORTANT!
Please be respectful and mature- internet fighting is the lamest form of self-indulgence.

Other than that:

If you quote something and know the page, it might be helpful to say so, so we can all reference it.

If you have new ideas, please share them.

This is my first time moderating here, so be gentle.

We meet Mondays and Fridays, anytime, but I'll usually do mornings, so if you want to catch me- that's the best time. Feel free to message me. I'll get back to you. 3 chapters by Friday, and then another 3 by Monday. If anyone thinks that pace is too grueling, please let me know, we'll slow it down.

I have no computer access (usually) during the weekends, so if I don't get back to you then, please don't be offended.

Alright, thus being said and out of the way-
The principal and most divisive idea in ?A Clockwork Orange? is uttered repeatedly by F. Alexander and the prison chaplain: without choice and free will, man is no longer human but a "clockwork orange," a deterministic machine. Free will, Burgess and his liberal agents argue, is necessary to maintain our humanity, both individually andas a society; uprisings are built on free will, as Alex points out. Apparent even within the first few chapters, the reader can see the problems with this ?free will?. The importance of free will for the individual is the ?major theme? of ?A Clockwork Orange?, but Burgess immediately treats the reader to an array of events that suggest why free will is dangerous- aka the overwhelming plethora of violent scenes that assault the reader with each turning of the page. Unhindered by police or any kind of social or law enforcement, Alex and his ?droogs? are free to do what they desire - which seems to be ill-will toward their fellow man. Some questions for you readers to ponder- now of later in your reading.

Why dies free will, which is so vital for humanity and society, bring so much violence?

What is Burgess saying about free will? About violence? About today?s youth? Is he saying anything?

Chapter 3 touches briefly on art, with the music and the manuscript- what is the message?

Are we picking up any metaphors or symbols yet? Any themes I haven?t mentioned?

Okay- I have talked enough- please add your comments, ideas, and anything you have to add. Feel free to discuss all week- Fri. I will post new topics, and we will move on to new the next chapters. I apologize for slipping into teacher mode- it?s just how I do- Love it!

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Post by knightss » 02 Jan 2007, 17:07

the book is pretty good so far. i'll answer some of lovehateyou's questions when i have more time.
i found the first page a little confusing because of the "nadsat". it becomes much easier after a few pages but if you're wondering what some words mean go here http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Concordan ... ork_Orange

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Post by LoveHatesYou » 02 Jan 2007, 17:17

The wikepedia site is a good one- it also helps to read it aloud. Don't fret my friends, it gets easier! It's kind of like reading Irving Welsh- the first few chapters are a littel rough, but you'll catch on.

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Post by Scott » 03 Jan 2007, 13:50

LoveHatesYou wrote:Why [does] free will, which is so vital for humanity and society, bring so much violence?
I wouldn't blame the violence on freewill. I blame it on instincts and instinctive emotions such as anger, fear, et cetera. I see instincts as more mechanical aspects of our motivations, in that they come from a primitive state of mind like that of lower animals who don't think freely and make freewill choices as much as humans. In contrast, free-will leads to more civilized behaviors such as the seemingly unnatural pacifism of Martin Luther King.

What's everyone else think?
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Post by LoveHatesYou » 03 Jan 2007, 15:18

Freewill is a the ability to make choices- any choice-not necessarily violent one, MLK is a great example of non-violence as a choice- but freewill given to testosternone ridden teenage boys may be driven in directions that may benefit from some structure. Violence is an instict that human as a species unvariably turn to, yes, but in this novel, these boys chose violence of their own freewill-it was their choice. Since there is no REAL system of checks and balances going on, a question to present A Clockwork Orange with is whether it is better to allow harmful free will, since violence seems to be these boys only source of fun and thier only desire, or "safely" curb it. You cannot enforce society. But can you? I still feel like all the little characters in the book could have done something- the shopkeeper could have spoken up, the parents, someone. Burgess still maintains we should permit harmful free will, at least thus far, since goodness is authentic only if it is chosen; if goodness is forced it is inhuman and mechanical- "a clockwork orange" if you will. Which reminds me of one of my favorite songs: " Do I want to do right? Or course. But do I really want to feel I'm forced? To answer you, hell no." -Fiona Apple
"I am a slave to the wonders of the imagination and the cage of creativity." -E. Maggard

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Post by Scott » 04 Jan 2007, 13:19

I think it is more effective to allow someone to choose to be good and peaceful, rather than fore them to. For example, when raising children, a parent does a better job if the parent teaches the child to share, but doesn't force the child to share; if the parent forces the child to share, then the child never learns to share on its own.

However, in society we need to protect innocent people from being victimized by others who would choose to use violence to hurt the innocent people.

So, I don't want people forced to be helpful, but I do want people forcibly stopped from being harmful.

What do you think?
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"Non ignara mali miseris succurrere disco." Virgil, The Aeneid

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Post by knightss » 04 Jan 2007, 19:30

mmm this topic seems to be going in a different direction. we have to look at why people act the way they do. for example do you believe in sociobiology such as Richard Dawkins book The Selfish Gene... is everything we do already programmed into our genes?(sociobiology was also used for claiming that once race can be superior to another and the why women shouldn't be equal to men, in his recent works, richard dawkin has created genes and memes(sp?).. saying that outside influences can also effect people) or are you a behaviorist meaning you believe that outside forces such as entertainment or influences from people such as parents and friends dictate the way in which we live and decided what is good or bad. keep in mind these aren't the only theories of why people act the way they do. why do you think we perceive morals the way we do?

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Post by knightss » 05 Jan 2007, 00:16

What is Burgess saying about free will? About violence? About today?s youth? Is he saying anything?

It seems to me that Burgess is showing that if the youth is left alone to do as they please they can become destructive. in chapter 3 they mention that his parents take sleeping pills so they can sleep while alex listens to his music. alex seems to get whatever he wants and is not disciplined. it shows a lack of responsibility by the parents. alex considers murder and voilence as a fun act... i can not pinpoint the reason for this. maybe it's the issue of free will... if we are all left alone to do as we please would we all act like alex and his droogs? i hope not lol.

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Post by jsavage » 05 Jan 2007, 12:53

i agree with knightss - that there are at least two theories for why people act they way that they do. 2 of them are the classic nature vs. nurture debate. are people innately evil or is this behavior learned? i believe that people are born with the propensity to be either "good" or "evil". in the case of alex, we don't learn too much about his upbringing, however his parents seem to be caring people. it's easier to discuss the societal effects on alex's behavior. is he the only one committing violent acts? the entire city seems to be overrun w/ criminals. this is where his free will comes into play. he could stay at home and be scared of the people outside, but he'd rather be one of those who are feared.

also - just wanted to add that i read this book about a year ago, but i plan on re-reading it again to better participate here. which chapter is everyone up to now? yay, a book club! :)

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Post by knightss » 05 Jan 2007, 14:06

we just read 1-3 so i'm guessing 4-7 by monday?

also in the case of his "droogs" i believe they are feeling pressure to be part of the "group" and doing things they maybe normally wouldn't do if they were by themselves. i recently wrote an 8 page paper on gang rape where in most cases the men commiting the act were doing it be part of the group... sort of a rite of passage. in groups such as these there is a loss of self identity and if they don't have the power to think for themselves and stand up against what they know is wrong then they are likely to follow mindlessly.

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Post by LoveHatesYou » 05 Jan 2007, 18:03

OkayI'm going to have 4-7 by Monday- I will be posting the topics to follow on Monday. I'm hoping more people will join in on the discussions by then, and I'm also hoping we can stay more closely tied to the novel and what it says on our topics. Keep the violence in mind, as it is a theme that runs throughout the whole novel. I'm sorry I didn't get the topics up early today as planned... work... eh... So themes: violence, society, and I like the idea of nurture vs. nature. Also ideas of socailism, and individualism. More to come! Tell anyone that might be interested!
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Post by jamespoet » 30 Mar 2014, 12:27

I wanted to ask a quick question: what did everyone think of the controversy regarding the last chapter of the original edition, which was excized from the American publication because the publisher thought that American audiences wouldn't appreciate the uplifting ending?
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Post by Sveta » 26 Jun 2014, 21:50

I tried to read it, but I couldn't stand the way the author butchered Russian language...and from what I read about it, it looks like its something I'm not going to like or enjoy.
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Post by lizj97 » 10 Nov 2014, 23:24

I think free will means just that, the ability to choose either good or bad. Alex chooses bad but others in his situation could choose good. That is what free will means. Actually when it comes to gangs, I don't think the individual members actually use free will but rather they follow the leader and commit violent actions that they would not commit on their own, with their own free will.

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