A Clockwork Orange Essay: The Future Dystopia

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The Future Dystopia in A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange is an anti-utopian novel, describing an imminent future in a stately supervised country. The hero Alex revolts against the state using violence and is therefore locked up. Later he is turned into a harmless subject without free will, incapable of committing any crime.

Burgess paints a future outlook of a land that is still committed to democracy, yet has already adapted radical methods facing youth criminality. There are several indications leading to the supposition that the general form of the government is a socialist one, e.g. the teenage slang called Nadsat which handles chiefly Russian vocabulary, streets named after personalities like Yuri
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Of course Alex is a menace for peaceful persons, still he symbolizes the rebellion of the individual against the well-organized state. Above all it is difficult to condemn Alex far his savagery when we have to see that he became this kind or cruel creature out of the failure of the state. He could not help growing up as a criminal under the oppression of a police state. Powerful police controls the mob and combats juvenile gangs with illegal brutality. One of the officers who are interrogating Alex points out that they "know the law, too, but...knowing the law isn't everything." (1) And after Alex' brutal interrogation he laconically answers to P.R. Deltoid that Alex "resisted his lawful arresters." (2) Therefore the state is at least partly the initiator of Alex' wickedness. But then it paradoxically wants to get rid of the malice it has created and transforms Alex into a good fellow. Through that the state becomes even more guilty as it destroys his ability of free choice. (3)

This is furthermore a severe satire, for the main occupation of the government exists in fighting the problem it previously has created. Burgess on the one side criticizes the state but on the other side the persons and groups opposed to it. To begin with there is a legal oppositional party which seems to cooperate with the government. Then we notice the prison chaplain who frankly expresses his

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