Welly, welly, welly, welly, welly, welly, well. To what do I owe the extreme pleasure of this surprising visit?
Dear chellovecks and cheenas, if you haven’t read ‘The Clockwork Orange’ by Anthony Burgess or watched the Kubrick movie, just do it already. They’re both worth it.
The novel is about a fifteen year old boy named Alex and his gang of teens who spend their time taking drugs and indulging in “a bit of the old ultraviolence”-
It has a very interesting theme-
Is it better for a man to have chosen evil than to have good imposed upon him?
One day, the gang goes too far and a woman they’ve brutalized ends up dying. Alex is arrested and sentenced to 14 years in prison.
If he had been in India, he’d have got off with a maximum punishment of 3 years in a juvenile home. The logic behind the law is obvious; youngsters who are even a month less than 18 years of age are immature dolts who can’t tell the difference between right and wrong. They gain wisdom and morality only on the day they turn 18.
As Burgess writes-
Senseless violence is a prerogative of youth, which has much energy but little talent for the constructive.
In prison, Alex becomes a guinea pig for scientists who are developing a method called the ‘Ludovico technique’ to cure criminals of their violent tendencies. Alex is given injections that make him feel sick and is made to watch movies of horrifying violence. After the treatment, his brain associates violence with sickness and he cannot fight or injure anyone even in self defence.
Burgess is clearly against this, as a supporter of freedom of choice-
Goodness is something chosen. When a man cannot choose he ceases to be a man.
If he can only perform good or only perform evil, then he is a clockwork orange—meaning that he has the appearance of an organism lovely with colour and juice but is in fact only a clockwork toy to be wound up by God or the Devil.
But I think the technique is a cool, inventive idea that would be very effective in countering crime.
I mean, I’m all for individual freedom as long as the said individual isn’t wreaking havoc on the streets and putting others in danger. I think that people who choose to rape and murder don’t deserve the right to choose.
It’s much better than the death penalty. Death is after all inevitable and irreversible ( so you can’t bring back an innocent man after he’s been put to death.)
You could say that the governments might use it on political prisoners but it’s practically painless compared to the methods that are actually used and it is fully reversible.
There is a kind of poetic justice in the fact that Alex was unable to defend himself when attacked by his former victims.
Later, Alex is turned back into his normal, vicious self. The book has a very improbable ending- one fine day, Alex turns over a new leaf and thinks of starting a family. Personally, I don’t buy the ending; I think it’s laughable.
If you think you’ve read too many spoilers-