Alex wakes up in the evening. His parents are dining at home, and he emerges from his room. In his “loving only son” voice, he tells his parents that he feels much better and is ready to go out to his nighttime job. His parents are suspicious about how he earns money, but Alex deflects their questions with evasive answers. Alex’s father explains that he is concerned because the night before, he had a dream in which Alex was beaten up by his friends. Alex is intrigued, as this parallels his nightmare as well. However, he assures his dad that all is well, and thinks to himself that “dreams go by opposites.”
Alex tries to appease his parents with linguistic affectations, but his dissimulations are not rock-solid. His parents seem to drop their questioning more out of fear than out of contentment. What’s more, his father’s ominous dream further foreshadows the omens set forth by Alex’s dream and Deltoid’s visit. Alex cannot maintain his virtuous appearance and sustain his evil behavior without having to take responsibility for his actions.
Before leaving, Alex hands his father some money to buy liquor. He is surprised to find Dim, Pete, and Georgie waiting for him outside his apartment—the droogs explain that they wanted to meet him because they were concerned they had offended him last night. Alex tries to resume his usual condescending, authoritative rapport with the droogs, but Georgie tells him that there is a “new way” the group will operate. The droogs are growing up, Georgie explains, and they are ready for bigger and better heists. Alex carries himself calmly, but in his mind he angrily realizes that his dream has come true.
Finally, Alex is beginning to be held in some way accountable for his reprehensible treatment of others. Unlike his father, whom he bribes with liquor money, Alex cannot keep his droogs under his thumb. Typically, however, Alex has no desire to compromise. Instead of learning from others’ reactions to him, he is jealously preoccupied with reestablishing his power.
The droogs decide to head over to the Korova Milkbar. On the way, however, Alex decides that rather than stew in his anger, he should act more impulsively. He hears a snippet of Beethoven coming from a house’s radio, and is inspired. He draws his knife and challenges Georgie to a duel. While Alex and Georgie circle one another, Dim moves to intervene, but Pete stops him. Alex lands a glancing blow on Georgie’s hand, causing him to drop the knife. Alex then challenges Dim. Though Dim lands a blow with his chain, Alex manages to incapacitate him by cutting his wrist. The other droogs are worried Dim will bleed to death, but the blood flow stops once he is bandaged.
Once again, beautiful art motivates Alex to commit abominable actions. The impulses of his subconscious seem to motivate him both to enjoy Beethoven and to fight his friends. Alex’s handling of this situation also illustrates the tenuousness of his relationship to his droogs. He has no issues seriously harming his peers, and while this conduct may seem to reinforce his authority on paper, it is likely to foster further resentment and mutiny down the line.
Satisfied that he has taught his droogs their place, Alex leads them back to the Duke of New York. They again purchase drinks for the old women. Dim sits in a daze, mumbling that he could have beaten Alex in the fight. After Alex ensures that things are as they were before, the group decides—at Georgie’s suggestion—to rob the house of a rich old woman who lives in a house called “The Manse.”
Though the droogs find themselves in the same situation as the night before, the below-the-surface dynamics are clearly different. Alex’s leadership may be nominally restored, but Dim’s discontent promises future unrest, and Alex’s deafness to social cues makes him unlikely to anticipate it.