A Clockwork Orange

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A Clockwork Orange Part 1, Chapter 2 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The droogs leave the bar, and find an old man singing drunkenly outside. Alex is disgusted by the man’s condition, and Dim punches the man several times. The man tells the droogs that he’s tired of living in a world where the young mistreat the old, and would be relieved if they killed him. The boys beat the man, but he keeps on singing; finally, they leave him in a mess of blood and vomit.
Part of Alex’s contempt for drugs likely stems from drugs’ ability to remove a user’s power to control his situation. It is particularly frustrating, therefore, that Alex is incapable of controlling the drunk man outside. Despite their best and most brutal efforts, they cannot silence his ability to sing out of his own free will.
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Alex and the droogs come across a rival named Billyboy and his gang of five droogs. Billyboy’s gang is in the midst of assaulting a girl, who runs off when Alex’s droogs arrive. The groups exchange insults and begin to fight. Even though Alex’s droogs are outnumbered, they outfight Billyboy’s gang, because Dim is an exceptionally strong and vicious fighter. As Alex knife-fights Billyboy, the police arrive and the gangs scatter.
This encounter with a rival gang reinforces the image of Alex’s world as one where violent chaos is constant and allies are hard to come by. Everyone outside of the droogs’ immediate circle is presumed to be an enemy, and confrontations are brutal and dangerous. Alliances between droogs seem to be made more out of necessity than out of genuine caring.
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As the gang walks, Dim glances at the sky and asks Alex what might be found on other planets. Alex rudely shuts Dim’s question down, and the gang goes off to steal a car. In their stolen vehicle, the gang drives past two young lovers, whom they beat up. Then they head to a village outside of town, hoping to break into a house and harm its occupants.
Alex’s distaste for non-worldly concerns comes through once again in his callous response to Dim’s innocent query. At this point, the gang’s ultra-violent night is so saturated with wrongdoing that it has become almost surreal.
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The group reaches a cottage with a sign that reads “HOME.” Alex knocks and, speaking in his gentlemanly voice, tells the young woman who answers that his friend has taken ill. He asks to make a phone call, but the woman says they have no phone; he then asks for a glass of water and the woman tells him to wait. While the woman is gone, Alex reaches past the door and undoes the chain, and he and his droogs storm into the house, wearing masks to hide their identities.
Yet again, Alex takes advantage of social convention to enact his violent ambitions. He affects a respectable voice and manipulates others’ altruistic tendencies in order to place himself in a position of power.
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Inside, the young woman cowers in a corner. A young man seated before a typewriter accosts the trespassing droogs. Alex grabs a stack of papers on the man’s desk: it is a book, entitled A Clockwork Orange. Alex derisively reads the book’s first line, then begins to rip the pages apart. Dim starts beating the writer. Alex then tells the group it is time for “the other vetsch [thing].” The droogs force the writer to watch while they take turns raping the young woman. Once finished, the droogs smash some of the writer’s possessions, and then drive off.
The text’s self-reference in this scene implies that Alex’s destructive tendencies may go on to destroy the work as a whole. Furthermore, his actions—pre-empting his droogs in the gang-rape order, forcing the writer to watch his wife being violated, and so on—indicate that he is obsessed chiefly with power, rather than sexual or financial gratification.
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