Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange is a disappoint novel set in an oppressive, futuristic state. Published in 1962, A Clockwork Orange is an extremely intense, graphic, and, at times, horrifying novel. A reader begins to question their own values as they become numb and desensitizing to the violence at hand. Both behaviorism and free will is occurring throughout A Clockwork Orange. A Clockwork Orange brings up a question, how much control of our own free will do we actually have? Do we really control our own lives, or are they subject to the cards we are dealt? In A Clockwork Orange, behavior analysis and free will are displayed.
Human nature has long since been in question. Alex is an extremely interesting character. He is a brutal human being who evolves as a character only to fall back into his original state. It’s almost as humans are a blank slate. They are subject to the environment around them and they are molded by that environment. Alex longs for power. When he has it, he wants more. Alex has an almost dictatorial presence about him. He lives a life with no discipline and unfortunately suffers the consequences. His longing for power leads to his downfall and horrific rehabilitation. Alex undergoes a terrifying reconditioning.
Alex is strapped to a chair, drugged, and tortured. He is subject to the oppressive government in which he lives. Ale’s life takes a complete 180. Instead of being powerful, he is now powerless. Although Ale’s wrong doing is taken to an unimaginable extent, does he have the choice to be bad? Is the conditioning that he experiences morally right? Can people take away his free will? Free will, defined as freedom of action by Roy F. Bandmaster, is a central focus of Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange. Burgess decides to take a character who is, by most moral standards, evil, and transform him into the protagonist.
At points in the novel, a reader forgets the horrific things that he does, and begins to feel sorry for him and the torture that he is experiencing. Alex is a tool of the government, manipulated into the person that they want him to be. He is horrifically brutalized. All of his free will is taken away. Alex is classically conditioned through the use off special drug. This drug causes him to become violently ill when witnessing, or even hinging about, violence, and specifically Ludwig Van, 9th symphony, 4th movement causes a big reaction.
The conditioning was successful, and they then proceeded to release Alex back into the real world, where Alex is helpless due to his conditioning. The argument that Burgess is trying to make has nothing to do with Ale’s actions (Newman, Bobby 63). He is arguing that the higher power should not be allowed to take away a person’s free will, no matter what their actions are. Free will is human right, that we all share. The relevance of A Clockwork Orange has not changed over time. Its principles still spark debate and discussion today as we evaluate the society that we live in. Free Will In Scientific Psychology) Free will has a relation the Anthony Burgess’s title A Clockwork Orange. “The mass, location and velocities of the planets as they travel in their orbits around the sun determine where they will be in a thousand, a million or a billion years from today, provided only that all the forces acting on them are properly accounted for. I en unless, once set In mouton, runs Its course Inexorably, Like a clockwork” (K Just like how the universe has a course made for it, so does Alex. His life was like a clockwork, Just running its course.
Much of our life is already determined for us. We are either helped or hurt by a great variety of factors. Race, class, ability, gender, and many more contribute greatly to what we can and cannot do. It is an unfortunate reality, and much more complex than Ale’s. Much of what we do now, right or wrong, is unconscious. We evaluate what is beneficiary to the betterment of the individual. The dynamic of our society has created this behavior. We are subject to, and targeted for a number of uncontrollable things. Alex had control over the things that he was doing, and then it was taken away from him.
We have very limited control over what we do because society takes our free will away. Behaviorism has a relation to free will. Watson view on behaviorism is “… Psychology should embrace behavior as its subject matter and rely on experimental observation of that subject matter as its method” (Moore 451). Also Watson published his paper Psychology as the Behaviorism Views It, and in this paper he states: “Psychology as the behaviorism views it is a purely objective experimental branch of natural science. Its theoretical goal is and control of behavior.
Introspection forms no essential part of its methods, nor is the scientific value of its data dependent upon the readiness with which they lend themselves to interpretation in terms of consciousness” (Harlem 6) the prediction Watson set the stage for behaviorism, which soon rose to dominate psychology. Watson went a little overboard in that paper. But on the good side, he attracted many enthusiastic followers, became the national interest, made headlines in national newspapers, and was the subject of many articles in popular periodicals.
But then there were troubles that Watson experiment wasn’t considered “Science” (Behaviorism For the New Psychology) Regarding A Clockwork Orange, would such a conditioning process really work? Even though whenever Alex was surrounded by violence he would get nausea, over time that would start to disappear due to the violence being to minor, or Just the fact that he would get used to the sickness. We never really know how Alex becomes De- conditioned. Alex has dreams of dirty water taken out of his body, and clean water being added, but that’s as much as we get.
While Alex was recovering from an attempted suicide, lying unconscious in a hospital bed, somehow the conditioning process was reversed. Even though it seems like Burgess’ consistency with the effectiveness of behavioral interventions didn’t follow regulations, it seems as if he wanted to make a comparison with the way the government is in our lives. A Clockwork Orange is much less about violence and more Burgess’ reflection and evaluation on his own society. It is an extremely different and unique approach that he decides to take, and for a lot of people it is ineffective.
Readers are disturbed by the graphic violence rather than sparked by his overall message. What Burgess is trying to do is show growth in a character and hope that one can change, but is masked Day ten Truculently secretive text Burgess’ Imagined Torture AT a torn state, decimated by violence and oppression, grabs a reader and truly changes them. It is hard to imagine that one will forget that they read A Clockwork Orange, but for the wrong reasons. Rather than recall the novel’s foundation, one will remember the aesthetics and how it was portrayed. ( Burgess and Behavioral Interventions)
Free will was introduced from the beginning of the novella. From the first line of the book “What’s it going to be then eh? ” demonstrating how Alex and his friends were free to do anything, to the title of the book being compared to the clockwork of the earth. (Burgess 1). The belief of being conditioned is sometimes hard to believe. Even though it is somewhat possible, it could only be taken so far. Trying to change the way Alex sees violence wasn’t an easy process. Even though it might of worked, it couldn’t of lasted forever. Works Cited Bandmaster, Roy F. “Free Will In Scientific Psychology.