A Clockwork Orange


The freedom of choice and the rehabilitating form of corrections encase
the realm of A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess. It produces the question
about man\'s free will and the ability to choose one\'s destiny, good or evil.
"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
or State"(Burgess ix). Burgess expresses the idea that man can not be
completely good or evil and must have both in order to create a moral choice.
The book deals upon reforming a criminal with only good morals and conditioning
an automated response to "evil." Burgess enforces the idea of the medical model
of corrections, in terms of rehabilitating an offender, which is up to the
individual. That one should determine the cause and then find an exclusive
treatment to resolve that individual\'s case, then apply it. This is the case
with the character Alex, a juvenile delinquent introduced into prisonization
then conditioned by governmental moral standards. This lack of personal moral
choice imposed upon Alex creates conflicting situations in which he has no
control over. This is apparent when trying to readjust into society. As
conflicts arise within the spectrum of criminal justice the main focus is
revolved around the corrections aspect of reforming the criminal element.
Within the confines of the seventies Londoner. The character, Alex is
created as the ultimate juvenile delinquent leading a small gang. Living within
his own world the use of old Londoner language and attire reflect the non-
conformity with society. Let loose within a large metropolitan, Alex is
engulfed in the affairs of several criminal practices, from rape to aggravated
assault. As a juvenile delinquent, Alex is finally caught and seen as an adult
offender. Like all offenders he promotes his innocence and sets blame upon his
companions. "Where are the others? Where are my stinking traitorous droogs? One
of my cursed grahzny bratties chained me on the glazzies. Get them before they
get away. It was their idea, brothers. They like forced me to do it"(Burgess 74).

Betrayed by his cohorts Alex is beaten by local officials and confesses to all
the crimes. As a point to retribution a sergeant states, "Violence makes
violence"(Burgess 80) and proceeds to through Alex back into the cell. All the
while Alex detests the treatment and conditions of the local jail, " So I was
kicked and punched and bullied off to the cells and put in with about ten or
twelve other plennies, a lot of them drunk"(Burgess 81). Unlike the fair
treatment of most juveniles Alex was finally getting the taste of adult
corrections, being held in a drunk tank along with other felons. Faced with the
reality of prison life, Alex is introduced to prisonization by the same system
which incarcerated him. Showing him one must be tough and violent to survive
within the penal system.
The term prisonization refers to the effect when an offender is
subjected to the culture, morals, rules, and values of a penal institution. Then
this is inscribed into his or her own behavior and deems them fit as a norm.
This is the case involving Alex when he must prove his worth in a correctional
institution by beating a fellow inmate. "If we can\'t have sleep let\'s have some
education, our new friend here had better be taught a lesson …I fisted him all
over, dancing about with my boots on though unlaced, and then I tripped him and
he went crash crash on the floor. I gave him a real horror show kick on the
gulliver"(Burgess 102). Although being brutal deems fit for Alex, he realizes
that only repentance and good behavior in the eyes of the officials can release
him from the jaws of justices. So in order to be viewed as a reforming
criminal Alex turns to religion. As the prison minister clearly states, "Is it
going to be in and out of institutions like this, though more in than out for
most of you, or are you going to attend to the Divine Word and realize the
punishment that await the unrepentant sinner in the next world, as well as in
this?"(Burgess 90) and the main focus for reforming is in the hands of God and
individual moral choice. Through religion Alex soon becomes a model prisoner,
externally, yet internally still willing to do anything to