Critique Of Totalitarianism In Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange

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On the surface of A Clockwork Orange, a novel by Anthony Burgess, there appear to be two sides, a “good” side in the form of religion, and a “bad” side in the form of the State, a totalitarian government. However, there is not a clear juxtaposition between the two sides. Despite the fact that Catholicism is thought of as being an institution of the highest morals, and efforts are being made by the State to eradicate behaviors that are deemed detrimental to society, there are no noble institutions or characters in the novel. On the one hand, the church and other religiously associated characters, such as The Governor, act ignobly by cowardly refusing to stand up for their beliefs and also by promoting violence. On the other hand, however, the State who wishes to eradicate all destructive behavior by using questionable methods, such as Ludovico’s Technique, is equally as unacceptable as the church. Through the use of role reversal and religion, Burgess critiques totalitarianism by having all sides in the novel do their part to rid Alex of his autonomy.
Despite being the head of the prison, and therefore a representative of the State, the Governor is also a highly religious figure. Religion a side in the
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First published in 1962, A Clockwork Orange was written after the rise of many totalitarian governments, such as Nazism in Germany. After Alex is told that he will be receiving Reclamation Treatment, the Chaplain tells Alex that the treatment “is nothing to do with me (Burgess 94).” On the first read, it appears that the Chaplain is telling Alex that he has no say in whether Alex receives the treatment or not. However, after re-reading the passage, the Chaplain is telling Alex that the Reclamation Treatment has nothing to do with the him, and therefore the Chaplain feels that it is not necessary or important enough to involve himself. Following this remark

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