A Clockwork Orange - Chapters 18-21 Discussion (Finished)

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LoveHatesYou
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A Clockwork Orange - Chapters 18-21 Discussion (Finished)

Post by LoveHatesYou » 06 Feb 2007, 12:17

How do we feel about the end of the novel?
"I am a slave to the wonders of the imagination and the cage of creativity." -E. Maggard

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LoveHatesYou
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Post by LoveHatesYou » 06 Feb 2007, 12:44

This has to be quick as I am swamped at work- it's hell week at the shop! so you guys feel free to pick up what i have left out, and have not touched upon!

Alex recovers enough to run with a new posse- but still is not drinking heavily- wants a family, and carries a picture of a baby in his wallet, which he tears up when one of the hooligans notices, all at the tender age of 18. (NOTE~ Your book- like the movie, may have omitted this chapter- many american editions did!). He cannot listen to the classical music he used to, but now he listens to piano and a solitary singer- is this because he is lonely? Does he still feel like an outsider? Does he know anything else?

How do we feel when he runs into his old friend Pete, married with a family? How does Alex feel? Is he "old"? Pete speaks like an adult- none of the street slang that Alex still uses.

Lastly, what do we think will happen to ALex? Did the system, ultimately, work? Was everything for the public good, if the crime is still there in a mask of authority? (Look at Billy Boy- now a police officer). Are there any signs of hope? If so, what are they?

Alright guys, talk away- last chance for you lurkers who have been reading along, but not contributing to discussion- we don't bite very hard. Speak up!

Also remember next book- FIght Club. We should all start Fight Clubs in our respective cities while reading. Any takers?
"I am a slave to the wonders of the imagination and the cage of creativity." -E. Maggard

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Post by dukeloath » 08 Feb 2007, 17:14

I just joined up today and am gutted that I missed the last month of discussions on Clockwork Orange. I have not read this book since I was 15 (13 years ago) and would have enjoyed the opportunity to re-read and discuss it. Anyhoo, here's how I think I would now feel at the end of the book (thanks to the mnemonic effect of the provided synopsis/comments):

There is a sense of Burgess's own ambivalence. Burgess uses his novel himself to ruminate over the issue of free will and social (governmental) control and does not conclude (as far as I can remember) one way or another. He clearly, in my view, shows the pros and cons on each side of the argument but which way does he lean predominantly? He lathers Alex with a frightening sort of charisma - I found it very difficult not to like Alex. In all honesty, I didn't even try not to like him (a luxury granted by constant reminders that it was fiction). Alex's Machiavellian (mentioned in a previous post) streak does not allow him to inhibit any urges. Everything that Alex feels will give him pleasure he executes. There is no inhibition; Alex does not allow himself to be governed by societies norms. In essence he is as free as one can be. How can you not envy a character like that? Ah, less we forget the violence. And this is where Burgess comes back on himself and counter-argues.

Although there are many characters in history similar to Alex, a most striking similarity for me is the Marque De Sade. We are all aware of the debauched existence of Sade but he had a philosophy very similar to the one behind Alex's character. Sade was a determinist in the true sense - his actions were dictated by nature and not society. Some view Sade's philosophical views as pre-empting the work of Freud - his thoughts came from wherever (subconscious or wherever the stage before that is) and terminated in action with no inhibition of desire. No matter how vile and degrading the actions of these characters are (yes, I do realise Sade is not fiction), I cannot deny being envious of the liberty of a life unconstrained by social rules until, of course, jail denies even the simplest of pleasures - the fate of Sade. But even in jail Sade's imagination was so alive he sustained a degree of felicity many righteous souls never got anywhere near achieving.

Burgess provides an immoral method society could adopt to deal with these characters. We do not yet have an effective method and these characters will be with us until the end of days. So buckle up, hope you never have to inhibit too much (because if they desires do arrive, what will you choose?) and keep an eye out for the uninhibited loons.

Sorry if I rambled a bit too much but it was nice to get these thoughts out my head and into another format.
Cheers, D>.

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jsavage
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Post by jsavage » 09 Feb 2007, 18:54

When Alex's parents do not welcome him home, he leaves and ends up back at HOME. A residence he and his droogs once visited (to rob and rape the lady of the house) and Alex hopes the (resident) author doesn't remember. F. Alexander (the author) is all too friendly to Alex and he learns why - the author plans to use Alex as a tool to fight the current government.
"Will not the government itself now decide what is and what is not crime and pump out the life and guts and will of whoever sees fit to displease the government." F. Alexander, PG 160.
He obviously is not a fan of the Ludovico Technique and is sick and tired of crooked cops running the streets. The author and his friends plan on making a spectacle of Alex and in order to make Alex appear more "zombie-ish" they lock Alex in a room and blast the classical music. Alex decides that he just can't take it anymore and tries to 'snuf it' by jumping out the window. He lives of course, only to find that he's cured! The government once again redeems itself by showing up at Alex's bedside for a photo op to show everyone that they'll make it all better again.
Like Emily said - the last chapter was not included in original versions of the book or in the movie, but I believe it's very insightful and gives the reader some hope.
After being released and on the streets again, he's up to the same old tricks. Only this time, they don't bring him any pleasure. He's definetely the leader of his clan but he finds no joy in hurting others and starts listening to more romantic music. Then once he runs into his old friend Pete who is married and seems so much more mature - Alex realizes that it's not a disease that makes him not want to hurt people anymore, he's just too old for that!
"Youth must go, ah yes. But, youth is only being in a way like it might be an animal"
Here Alex compares being young to being like an animal and able to give in to instictual behavior. Finally, he comes to the realization that he wants a son (I'm not sure if he wants a wife, but knows that she is essential!). A son who will be just like him... and it will be a cycle that keeps going.
I like that in the final chapter Burgess offers a reason and hope for the future for our friend Alex, but I'm not sure if I buy it completely. Does anyone believe that violent behavior can be outgrown? Maybe he really didn't 'outgrow' it, perhaps it was all the torment he has endured that ultimately cured him...

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dukeloath
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Post by dukeloath » 11 Feb 2007, 19:49

marquis, of course

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avid reader28
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Post by avid reader28 » 18 May 2015, 02:15

I loved a clockwork orange, I remember reading it a while ago, and I couldn't put it down and it left an impact on me, it is my favorite fiction about free-well :)

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