Meat Powder or Murder: Psychological Principles in a Clockwork Orange
Essay Preview: Meat Powder or Murder: Psychological Principles in a Clockwork Orange
Report this essay
Brad Schaffer
9 February 2004
General Psychology
Meat Powder or Murder: Psychological Principles in A Clockwork Orange
Anthony Burgess novel, A Clockwork Orange, takes place in the near future where the
city of London is understaffed with cops and overrun with gangs and crime. The main
characters, Alex and his doogies, Pete, Georgie, and Dim, are just one of these gangs. They
stage their nights events at a local place called the Korova Milkbar. A typical night for the gang
includes beating the elderly, raping women, and murdering anybody who gets in their way.
These events have been going on along time without anyone falling into the hand s of the police.
Their luck, however, doesn’t last forever. One evening, Alex has an altercation with Dim
and Alex to punches him. The rest of the group thought it was inappropriate especially when
Alex claimed he had the right to punch Dim because he was the leader of the group. This left
Dim seeking revenge which he got during one night’s routine attack. The group breaks into an
elderly ladies house and Alex beats her up. Shortly after, they heard the cops coming so Dim
waits outside and chains Alex as he comes running through the threshold. When Alex awakes
from his beating, he finds himself in the police station only to be told that he would be serving
fourteen years in prison because the women he attacked had perished.
After only serving two years of his sentence, Alex is given the opportunity to participate
in a new treatment called the Ludovico Technique. This technique involved taken the inmate
and forcing him to watch ultra violent movies directly after injecting them with a nauseainducing
drug. The idea was that of classical conditioning. Alex later says of his treatment,
“And what, brothers, I had to escape into sleep from then was the horrible and wrong feeling that
it was better feeling to get hit than give it. If that veck had stayed I might even have like
presented the other cheek.”(Burgess, 121) Ludovico’s treatment, a text-book example of
classical conditioning, had accomplished its task; it had effectively paired the stimulus, violence,
with an aversive response, nausea.
Upon the completion of the highly controversial program, Alex was released from prison
and thrown back into the real world. During his exit, the prison Chaplain spoke with him and
raised this question: “What does God want? Does God want goodness or the choice of
goodness? Is a man who chooses the bad perhaps in some way better than a man who has the
good imposed on him?” Even though Alex pays little attention to the Chaplin, this quotation
ends up being the main essence of the novel. In the introduction to the novel, Burgess points out
that if a man can’t use his free will to choose between good and evil and can only be one hundred
percent good or one hundred percent evil, then he is clockwork orange, having “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 (since this is increasingly replacing both) the Almighty State.” (Burgess
At the beginning of the novel, the reader is bombarded with a foreign language called
Nadsat. At first this makes the novel very unclear and hard to read. However, after reading the
first chapter twice or maybe even three times, the reader begins to learn the new language. After
reading several chapters of the book, the Nadsat is almost second nature and becomes essential to
the book. The language, though confusing in the opening chapters, is necessary for several
reasons. The first was to force the reader to read in a more alert and interactive way than he
usually would. Secondly, the slang conveys the youth culture of the time in a very descriptive
manner. But, most importantly, it creates a buffer to

Get Your Essay

Cite this page

First Chapter And Elderly Ladies House. (June 24, 2021). Retrieved from