• Category: Music & Movies
  • Words: 1495
  • Grade: 100

         A Clockwork Orange is an organism full of life, ready to ooze with all its
juices, only to find itself unable to do anything but revolve around like hands on a
clock, not in control of ones own life. Many different opinions exist about A
Clockwork Orange the novel, by Anthony Burgess compared to A Clockwork Orange,
the Stanely Kubrick film. As with most novel to movie adaptations there are different
perspectives of not only the characters, but also, the underlining message of the
work itself. Both the novel and the movie tell the same story, that is until the end.
         Although both the film and the novel seem to follow the same script, there are
two different opinions of what the human-being is able to achieve. The Burgess
edition shows us that the human condition follows a certain track. That we can
change, and that within all of us is the ability to choose what is right and what is
wrong . The Kubrick version portrays man as being a product of society, unable to
truly change unless wanting or desiring to.
        Alex is the main character in both works of art. Alex is the leader of a small
group of boys. These boys call themselves droogs, and they are like a small gang.
These droogs gather at a milk bar, alcohol was prohibited. The milk, was called a
milk plus, that is milk with some sort of drug in it . After the boys would drink their
milk, they would head out into the night to create destruction. After an altercation
with his droogs, Alex is doubled-crossed by them and he ends up in jail.
        After Alex has served two years of his sentence, for murder, he is chosen for a
new procedure called the Ludovico Treatment. This treatment was sort of like
brainwashing, causing Alex to get physically sick if he even thought of acting in a
violent or sexual way. After Alex has undergone the treatment he returns home only
to find that it is not home after all. Alex's parents have rented out his room to a
lodger. After Alex leaves his home he begins to run into people whom he had beaten
before he went away to jail, including one of his double crossing droog friends who
has became a cop.
         After he is beaten by the police/ ex-droog, Alex wanders to a house that he
had been before, HOME. HOME as it called in the novel is where Alex and his droog
friends had beaten and raped a woman. The owner of the HOME tells Alex that he has
some friends who are interested in telling the public of the horrible things that the
government has done to Alex. This act of friendship is just a ploy to get Alex to
commit suicide. After the suicide attempt of Alex fails, the government reverses the
Ludvicos Treatment and Alex is restored to his old droogie self. This is were the
Stanley Kubrick film version stops.
                A few of the similarities that lie in the chaotic world of A Clockwork
Orange are of violent behaviors. Alex and his droogs show no remorse for human life.
No compassion for anyone. These droogs act out the very darkest side of the human
desires. They seem to get off with committing horrible acts of violence. In both
works it is essential that the boys are shown as destroying all that they can. This
point is made in both the movie and the novel. It represents youth as being
constructively destructible. This means that along with youth come the desire to do
something, and as with the case of most young people the only constructive way to
do something is to destroy something.
        Also, similar in both works, is the way the characters follow the same
personality traits. Dim, one of Alexs old droogie friends is shown just as his name
may indicate, he is especially dim. Dim, in both works is a big burley idiot who ends
up getting the last laugh at his ex-leader Alex. Alex is portrayed as a young man who
has much hostility in his life, whether it be his emotional classical music or his evil
        Another similar image in both the movie and the novel is Alex being betrayed
or double crossed by those who pose to be his friends. This leads one to wonder
about where the truth really lies, and how those who appear to be there as our hope
or faith are only an image made by those who seek to have power. This struggle of
power can be seen two different ways, one in the battle between the young and the
old, and the struggle of religion. Even though the similarities reveal a similar
storyline, it is the differences that make each work of art their own work of art.
        One of my favorite scenes in the movie, that is left out of the novel, is when
Alex and his droogs are beating the owner of the HOME. The book simply tells of the
actions, but in the movie, Kubrick chooses to have Alex sing Singin In The Rain as he
stomps the man. In my opinion this behavior coupled with the song, which is possibly
the happiest song written, shows how happy this makes Alex and his droogs . This,
also in my opinion, shows how Stanley Kubrick has totally changed, in my mind, the
image that I see when I begin to hum that song. The Power of Music?
         Among the biggest differences between the novel and the book, is where the
novel seems to focus more on a religious undertone. Free-will often comes up as a
topic of discussion in the novel. This constant religious remembering is left out of
the movie because the movie tries to depict the human as being truly evil, almost as
if trying to dissuade the audience away from religion directly. Instead choosing to
use symbolism to represent his view of Christianity. In a scene in the book Dim, who
is now a cop, joins with a former rival gang member who is also a cop and they just
plainly beat Alex down. In the movie it shows Dim teaming with his old droog friend
Pete and they carry Alex off down a long trail, each on one side of him, and then they
begin to drown or dunk him into the water. This represents a baptism of Alex. It also
shows how the Christians, just as Dim, had come into power and now are deciding
that there way is moral, even though their behavior is obviously wrong.
        Drugs are also spoken of more in the book than in the movie. I feel as if the
book is trying to convince the audience that the drugs only encourage the young to
act in malicious ways. In my opinion, this is an example of Burgess trying to portray
good morals, and if they are not followed how they lead to destruction.
        The biggest difference however is the ending. In the Kubrick version the movie
ends after Alex has failed in the suicide attempt and has had the Ludvicos Treatment
reversed and again is able to think about having sex and being violent. Kubrick stops
the film here showing that this is indeed the way human nature is, dark and evil. The
difference in the novel is the role of Pete.
        Pete as noted earlier, in the movie is helping Dim dunk Alex. In the book Pete
is a totally different person. Pete in the book has married and is now very mellow.
The book goes as far as saying that Pete and his wife gather with other couples and
play Scrabble type games. This version of Pete shows how youth grows up.
        Alex wanders into Pete, not at the milk bar but at a coffee shop. This is
another example of Alex changing. Alex, after talking to Pete at the coffee shop,
decides that what he really wants is to have is a family and settle down. This is
Burgesses way of showing us that once we wind down from youth, we begin to want
to continually slow down. It is this picture that Burgess wants to leave the audience
with, that indeed humans are good in nature, and that if given the choice to choose, a
person in the end will do what is right.
        In conclusion, I feel as if A Clockwork Orange the movie , compared to A
Clockwork Orange the novel, is trying to show how religion is trying to control
society by doing what is ever necessary, including brain-washing our youths to be
good Christians. This Brain washing of Alex took place in a institution, the prison,
whereas the brain-washing of our youth is done in different institutions, the church.
The similarities do not end with just the institutions, but also in the fact that both
Alex and our children are told only what the doctors/priest want to tell them. What
ever conclusion one draws from these two paradoxed mirrors, it is sure that A
Clockwork Orange exist within all of us.                
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