Sample Scholarship Essays

A Clockwork Orange

Moral freedom is one of the most if not the most important of any freedoms available to humans. Moral freedom is the ability to either choose to perform good or bad deeds or both. Totalitarian governments take away ones individual choice and thus, suppress and suffocate the soul. The setting in A Clockwork Orange is a general parallax to a totalitarian and oppressive government. Alex, the main character, is the representative of the common man, and his struggle in this type of government. In the novel, A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess suggests that the importance of moral freedom be stressed even for criminals condemned by society.


There was me, that is Alex, and my three droogs, that is Pete, Georgie, and Dim.and we sat in the Korova milk bar making up our rassadooks what do with the evening(1.1; ch. 1), this was a typical night of a nadsat or teenager. A bunch of hoodlums, going around committing acts of violence and crime, for they have moral freedom; which they choose to do bad. First they assault a young man in an alley, and then they go to this authors house, and vandalize it and rape his wife. But while at this house, they come across a book called A Clockwork Orange, and Alex reads about it: The attempt to impose upon man, a creature of growth and capable of sweetness, to ooze juicily at the last round the bearded lips of God, to attempt to impose, I say, laws and conditions appropriate to a mechanical creation(1.21; ch. 2), at which he ironically laughs and tears up.
After an eventful night like that, Alex goes home, Where I lived was with my dadda and mum in the flats of Municipal Flatblock 18A, between Kingsley Avenue and Wilsonway(1.31; ch. 3). There he goes to his room, and turns on his stereo and his good side comes alive. His deep love for classical music like Mozart, Beethoven, and G.F. Handel, can be seen clearly. In the morning he decides not to go to school, and he ends up violently raping two devotchkas, again displaying his moral freedom to be bad. That same night, they try to rob an old psitsa that has a hundred cats living with her. Alex ends up killing the old lady, but he gets caught by the millicents and will be tried as an adult.

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While in court, Alex promotes his innocence and blames his companions. Where are the others? Where are my stinking traitorous droogs? One of my cursed grazhny bratties chained me on the glazzies. Get them before they get away. It was their idea, brothers. They like forced me to do it(1.65; ch. 6). His pleas are futile as he gets sent away to the Staja, also known as a penitentiary. From that point on, Alex feels oppressed by the small cells full of older criminals. Although these brutal situations fit Alex, he realizes that only repentance and good behavior in the eyes of the officials can release him from the jaws of justice. So in order to be viewed as a reforming criminal Alex turns to religion. He plays the music during religious ceremonies and becomes good friends with the prison chaplain. However Alexs intent on reforming was not a religious aspect but the quickest so he can get revenge on thee traitorous droogs and return to his thug life. He hears about a new technique, the Ludovico Technique, will get him out quickly. He talks to the chaplain, but the latter casts shadows about it by retorting: I must confess I share those doubts. The question is whether such a technique can really make a man good. Goodness comes from within 6655321. Goodness is something chosen. When a man cannot choose he ceases to be a man (2.83; ch. 1). This does not deter Alex from the thought of an early release but only makes his desire for it greater. He is picked to be the first test suject of the new Ludovico technique. With the augmentation in population comes an increase in crime too, which brings new techniques to cure or fix the criminal mind. The minister says: The government cannot be concerned any longer with outmoded penalogical theories. Cram criminals together and see what happens. You get concentrated criminality, crime in the midst of punishmentKill the criminal reflex, thats all(2.92; ch. 2). Alex thinks its an ideal solution, to become good and free at the same time and get out quickly, nothing wrong with that at all. But he does not realize that his eagerness is blinding him from the oppression and he is being robbed of his moral freedom.
The prison chaplain again tries to warn him: Very hard ethical questions are involvedyou are to be made into a good boy, 6655321. Never again will you have the desire to commit acts of violence or to offend in any way whatsoever against thee States Peace. I hope you take all that in. I hope you are absolutely clear in your own mind about thatIs a man who chooses the bad perhaps in some way better than a man who has the good imposed on himIn choosing to be deprived of the ability to make an ethical choice, you have in a sense really chosen the good(2.95; ch. 3).


The rehabilitation technique used upon Alex is that of responsive conditioning, with the use of drugs and films. This type of conditioning forces Alex to feel sick when confronted with evil sites or thoughts. Also included in this conditioning was the use of classical music, which Alex used to love, and now feels nausea when he hears it. After his fortnight, a two-week period at the institution, Alex seems to be cured, a situation is created where he is to use violence against an aggressive man, but he is unable to because of the conditioning. All the people attending the demonstration see how effective the new technique is, but only the chaplain of the Staja sees the lack of moral freedom. He says: He has no real choice, has he? Self-interest, fear of physical pain, drove him to that grotesque act of self-abasement. Its insincerity was clearly to be seen. He ceases also to be a creature capable of moral choice (2.126; ch. 7). The attending doctor simply replies: These are subtletiesWe are not concerned with motive, with higher ethics. We are concerned only with cutting down crime (2.126; ch. 7).
After being released Alex goes back home to Flatblock 18A, where surprisingly his parents think he has escaped and they now live with a new lodger; Unwanted Alex goes to the Public Biblio, where he is attacked by an elderly mob of vecks who recognized Alex as the one who ruined all the books on crystallography. The police come and break up the fray; to Alexs surprise he recognizes two of the millicents. One is Billyboy, his old nemesis, and the other is Dim, his old droog. They take him out to the country and beat the life out of him; he cannot defend himself because of the conditioning.
After waking up from his beat-down, Alex walks to a nearby village and to a house, with the Home sign on it. He doesnt know that it is the house of the author of A Clockwork Orange, but he recognizes Alex and takes care of him. F. Alexander, the author and his friends want to make the public aware of the evils of this new Ludovico technique. Meanwhile Alex becomes mentally weak, and cannot take anymore of this trauma, he decides to commit suicide. He jumps out of a window, but does not die(3.169; ch.6).


The fall has somehow cured and freed Alex from the effects of Ludovicos technique, he has again become his bad self again. He soon returns to his thug-habits, and a new group of droogs to surround him. Even with his regained freedom, he chooses not to commit ultra-violence. He becomes reacquainted with an old droog who now has a wife and son and now wants a wife and a son of his own. Alex through time has matured from adolescence to adulthood.

The novels main theme deals with moral freedom, Anthony Burgess expresses his views that no matter how good ones actions are, unless one has moral freedom, they are spiritually restricted and oppressed. Burgess mainly expresses his view and concerns through the chaplains dialogue, where he is the only one that really sees through the evils of Ludovicos technique. If one is forced to be good, and they do what is right, it is not out of any ethical or moral conviction. When one is forced what to do, he us merely a tool, or a pawn of the state, a clockwork orange, an automaton, unlike someone with the freedom of choice who is an individual.
Work Cited
(1) Burgess, Anthony. A Clockwork Orange. New York: Ballantine Books, 1963.

(2) A Critical Look at A Clockwork Orange, Clark, Cameron B. Feb. 2002. <http://www.geocities.com/Athens/4572/>
(3) A Clockwork Orange Resucked, Burgess, Anthony. Feb. 2002. <http://www.angelfire.com/wv/viddywell/info.html>
(4) “A Clockwork Orange”. Planet Papers. Feb. 2002. <http://www.planetpapers.com/Assets/3863.php>.

A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange
The freedom of choice and the rehabilitating form of corrections encase
the realm of A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess. It produces the question
about man’s free will and the ability to choose one’s destiny, good or evil.

“If he can only perform good or only perform evil, then he is a clockwork
orange-meaning that he has the appearance of an organism lovely with colour
and juice but is in fact only a clockwork toy to be wound up by God or the Devil
or State”(Burgess ix). Burgess expresses the idea that man can not be
completely good or evil and must have both in order to create a moral choice.

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The book deals upon reforming a criminal with only good morals and conditioning
an automated response to “evil.” Burgess enforces the idea of the medical model
of corrections, in terms of rehabilitating an offender, which is up to the
individual. That one should determine the cause and then find an exclusive
treatment to resolve that individual’s case, then apply it. This is the case
with the character Alex, a juvenile delinquent introduced into prisonization
then conditioned by governmental moral standards. This lack of personal moral
choice imposed upon Alex creates conflicting situations in which he has no
control over. This is apparent when trying to readjust into society. As
conflicts arise within the spectrum of criminal justice the main focus is
revolved around the corrections aspect of reforming the criminal element.

Within the confines of the seventies Londoner. The character, Alex is
created as the ultimate juvenile delinquent leading a small gang. Living within
his own world the use of old Londoner language and attire reflect the non-
conformity with society. Let loose within a large metropolitan, Alex is
engulfed in the affairs of several criminal practices, from rape to aggravated
assault. As a juvenile delinquent, Alex is finally caught and seen as an adult
offender. Like all offenders he promotes his innocence and sets blame upon his
companions. “Where are the others? Where are my stinking traitorous droogs? One
of my cursed grahzny bratties chained me on the glazzies. Get them before they
get away. It was their idea, brothers. They like forced me to do it”(Burgess 74).


Betrayed by his cohorts Alex is beaten by local officials and confesses to all
the crimes. As a point to retribution a sergeant states, “Violence makes
violence”(Burgess 80) and proceeds to through Alex back into the cell. All the
while Alex detests the treatment and conditions of the local jail, ” So I was
kicked and punched and bullied off to the cells and put in with about ten or
twelve other plennies, a lot of them drunk”(Burgess 81). Unlike the fair
treatment of most juveniles Alex was finally getting the taste of adult
corrections, being held in a drunk tank along with other felons. Faced with the
reality of prison life, Alex is introduced to prisonization by the same system
which incarcerated him. Showing him one must be tough and violent to survive
within the penal system.

The term prisonization refers to the effect when an offender is
subjected to the culture, morals, rules, and values of a penal institution. Then
this is inscribed into his or her own behavior and deems them fit as a norm.

This is the case involving Alex when he must prove his worth in a correctional
institution by beating a fellow inmate. “If we can’t have sleep let’s have some
education, our new friend here had better be taught a lesson I fisted him all
over, dancing about with my boots on though unlaced, and then I tripped him and
he went crash crash on the floor. I gave him a real horror show kick on the
gulliver”(Burgess 102). Although being brutal deems fit for Alex, he realizes
that only repentance and good behavior in the eyes of the officials can release
him from the jaws of justices. So in order to be viewed as a reforming
criminal Alex turns to religion. As the prison minister clearly states, “Is it
going to be in and out of institutions like this, though more in than out for
most of you, or are you going to attend to the Divine Word and realize the
punishment that await the unrepentant sinner in the next world, as well as in
this?”(Burgess 90) and the main focus for reforming is in the hands of God and
individual moral choice. Through religion Alex soon becomes a model prisoner,
externally, yet internally still willing to do anything to get out. This also
included experimental rehabilitation methods done by the state.

Being a juvenile in an adult prison one would have the urgency to be
released as quickly as possible. When the word got out of a new experimental
reforming process and a chance for early release, it immediately caught Alex’s
attention. To be chosen, this meant constant pressuring and questioning to the
officials, plus showing that he is trying to reform. ” You’ve been very helpful
and, I consider, shown a genuine desire to reform. You will, if you continue
this manner, earn your remission with no trouble at all”(Burgess 94). However
Alex’s intent on reforming was not a religious aspect but the quickest. He
finally realizes a new way to get out and questions the proceedings. “I don’t
know what it’s called, I said, All I know is that it gets you out quickly and
makes sure you don’t get in again”(Burgess 95). However the minister has
doubts about the medical treatment techniques involved in forcing a person to be
morally better. He brings up the question of what makes a real moral person.

“I must confess I share those doubts. The question is whether such a technique
can really make a man good. Goodness comes from within, 6655321. Goodness is
something chosen. When a man cannot choose he ceases to be a man”(Burgess 95).

This does not deter Alex from the thought of early release but only intensifies
his desires. With his determination and pure will Alex is finally permitted to
be experimented on for rehabilitation.

With an early release in site Alex’s willingness overshadows any
curiosities of the treatment. Transferred from a state prison to a private
facility insures his release from incarceration. “In a little over a fortnight
you will be out again in the big free world, no longer a number”(Burgess 108).

With the increase in population comes an increase crime, this has also brought
on encouraging new rehabilitating techniques to corrections. Stated by one
government official the importance of reforming in corrections rather than
retribution. “The government cannot be concerned any longer with out moded
penalogical theories. Cram criminals together and see what happens. You get
concentrated criminality, crime in the midst of punishment . . . Kill the
criminal reflex, that’s all”(Burgess 105,106). The rehabilitating technique
used upon Alex is that of responsive conditioning with the use of drugs and
visual aids. Conditioning is the implementation of either teaching or forcing
one to feel or think a certain way when given a decision. Alex is therefore
forced to feel and think negative responses when shown evil sites or thoughts.

Yet the an error had occurred when the state was conditioning “good” into him.

The use of classical music along with the treatment conditioned Alex to respond
to that as well. As Alex detested the use of music, he states the cruelty of
the technique, “But it’s not fair on the music. It’s not fair I should feel ill
when I’m slooshying lovely Ludwig van and G.F. Handel and others”(Burgess 133).

Yet the state feels the use of music is only an enhancement to the treatment,
“It’s a useful emotional heightener, that’s all I know”(Burgess 131). As the
treatment ends the sick feeling is only increased when Alex is confronted with
any “evil.” With this conditioning set in place Alex is finally released into
society and deemed healthy, pure of all morals.

The readjustment into society’s values seems to be the main question.

Was the implementation of conditioning a person to strictly good morals proper
and humane? As the title suggests one can not be purely good or evil to be a
man. One must have both in order to create humanistic choice. If not, the
creation would be that of a robot like person incapable of feeling or self
awareness. As Alex is released into the world as the states’ example of a
“healthy” person, he is tested by all extremes. One test was the incapability
to defend himself against the smallest attacks on his character. Another error
the state had provided is the use of music in the treatment of Alex. Not only
does he feel physically sick when he thinks or looks at violence but also when
he hears classical music. “It was that these doctors bratchnies had so fixed
things that any music that was like for the emotions would make me just sick
like viddying or wanting to do violence”(Burgess 161). Within the conditioning
techniques of repulsing him to violence, the state had also forced him to hate
music. The use of this correctional treatment failed due to the
implementations on morality of human choice. Is it better to have a criminal
make human choices, good or bad, or a purely good person not capable of making
any choices. As most opinions state, criminals should all be locked up or dealt
with in some harsh manner. There are also those who believe that offenders are
diseased by some element and can and/or should be cured. As far as corrections
is concerned, society can not lock up every offender and can not come up with
plausible means of curing the criminal element. With the rise in population
there will always be a rise in crime. However this does seem to be the present
trend, 5.3 million people were on probation, in jail, in prison, or on parole in
1995 (B.J.S. 1). As seen in Alex’s case the corrections techniques to cure the
element did not work. Perhaps the best means was to incarcerate him for his
term and let him pay his debt to society. The only correct method of
corrections is that of self correcting ones.

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