A Clockwork Orange: Violence and Corruption


Alex, the fifteen year old narrator of Anthony Burgess\'s novel, A Clockwork
Orange, lives in a society where violence reigns. This novel has a very direct
nature, and is often blunt to the point of offense, but this makes it more
powerful and helps to further its point. This point is that everyone is out for
themselves, whether they be the police, government or citizens of this society.
In this book, the police can be just as violent as Alex and his droogs,
or gang. In fact, by the end of the novel, his droogs have themselves become
the police. The police have no qualms about beating people almost to the point
of death as they do with Alex both at the beginning, “...they all had a turn,
bouncing me from one to the other like some very weak bloody ball...and fisting
me in the yarbles and the [mouth] and the belly and dealing out kicks...I [was]
sick...on the floor...” (70) and at the end of the book for no other reason than
they feel like it. “...It was all panting and thudding against this like
background of whirring farm engines...” (150) There seems to be no difference
between the people being beaten by streets punks such as Alex and the police,
who are supposed to protect them. The novel begins with the police doing little
to protect the citizens, for how else could a fifteen year old kid and three of
his friends rule the streets? They also seem to relish beating Alex for the
reason that they don\'t get to do it often. However, by the third part of this
book, crime is almost non-existent, but the police are far more brutal.
Neither of these scenarios is the better of the two. In fact the cops are not
out to help the people, they only want to serve themselves. Alex, during his
first beating, confesses and hands his droogs to the police, but the police do
nothing to capture them. The reason the people are so afraid “...then a bolt
drawn, then the door open an inch or so...” (19-20) is that they have to be,
since no one else seems to care about their well being.
The government is not much better. These corrupted individuals are only
out for themselves. They are in power, like it, and want to stay there as long
as possible. To achieve this end they will both tell the people what they want
and then do it for them. One example of this deals with crime. The citizens of
this society are fed up with it so the government gets rid of it using brutal
corrupt cops. “The way that had been cleaned up, there being no longer any
dirty, ballooning slovos...” (132) Since the People are not seeing the crimes
of the police, they believe that the government is protecting them and so are
appeased. Another example of this deal more directly with Alex. The citizens
want everyone to be good and peaceful. The government to show this take away a
person\'s free will to be bad. Thus the citizenry believe the criminals have
been reformed when in truth they have only been forced to do good, as they did
with Alex. Then when the people realize they prefer free will, the government
gives this back to Alex. The government is at the top and they like it there so
they will do anything to stay there.
Thought the government and the police are both very cruel to the people
this does not mean that the people themselves are good. This is shown in many
ways. One such way is that the police were once common citizens themselves so
it follows that their behavior is that of the people. Another example of this
involves one of Alex\'s former victims. At the beginning of the book, Alex and
his droogs attack an old man carrying books. When Alex is released, this same
old man beats him in revenge. “...starting to deal me malenky weak [hits in my
stomach]...” (144) The prey becomes the predator. This shows that given a
chance, even those who are supposed to be “good” will stoop to the level of the
street punk. Another example of this is shown with the people who eventually
try to help Alex. F. Alexander, the writer of the book A Clockwork Orange from
whence the novel is named, does help Alex only for his own ends, and even harms
Alex "...I could [hear] music