A Clockwork Orange

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A Clockwork Orange Part 1, Chapter 6 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The droogs head to the old part of town, hoping to loot antiques. They arrive at “The Manse” and see an old woman feeding her cats inside. Alex rings the doorbell and, in his gentlemanly voice, explains that his friend has fallen ill and that he needs to make an emergency phone call. The woman says she won’t fall for his tricks, and threatens to shoot him. Alex pretends to leave the doorstep and summons his droogs to hoist him onto Dim’s shoulders. This allows Alex to break into the house through a window. He hears the woman talking to her cats, and decides that he will demonstrate his leadership by committing this episode of “ultra-violence” all on his own. Alex enters the living room and accosts the woman. He grabs a valuable-looking statue off of a shelf, and then notices a bust of Ludwig van Beethoven. Captivated by the bust, Alex fails to watch his step and slips on a cat’s milk saucer. Alex falls on the ground and the old woman beats him with her cane; soon, however, Alex grabs the cane and makes the woman fall over. Once she is downed, Alex kicks the woman in the face. As Alex again makes his way towards the Beethoven bust, the woman’s cats attack him. Alex falls to the ground again and is set upon by the woman and her cats. Enraged, Alex hits the woman in the head with the statue he is holding. Alex then picks himself up from the floor and hears police sirens approaching.
Notably, Alex’s linguistic tricks have no effect on the old woman. She is sufficiently removed from society that his astute manipulations of social cues mean little to her. Alex’s behavior inside the Manse is simultaneously pathetic, comical, and utterly horrifying. His clumsy mismanagement of the break-in reminds readers that he is still a fifteen-year-old boy, rather than a savvy criminal. All the same, his brutal assault on the elderly woman erases any sympathy with which one might view his predicament. Notably, it is Alex’s love for Beethoven that makes him vulnerable in this scenario; perhaps this is a subtle nod to the redemptive power of his affection for art.
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Alex exits the house and sees Pete and Georgie running away, while Dim stands on the doorstep. Alex tells Dim that the police are coming, and Dim replies, “You stay to meet them.” He hits Alex in the eyes with his chain and tells him that it was “not right…to get on to me like the way you done, brat.” Alex writhes on the ground, blinded by the blow, and Dim runs off. The police arrive and are delighted to apprehend the boy, whom they call “little Alex” because they are familiar with his lawless antics.
At last, Alex receives his comeuppance for mistreating his allies. Importantly, his determination to pull off the heist alone and reject social collaboration was what allowed his droogs to conspire against him and betray him. Also noteworthy is the fact that retribution from the droogs coincides with retribution from society as a whole. Without one social support network, Alex loses his position within society as a whole. Now that Alex has been abandoned by his friends, larger societal enforcers, like the police, are free to discipline him.
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Alex is thrown into a police car and carted off to the station. All the while, he rails against his “stinking traitorous droogs” and tries to foist the blame upon them. When the car reaches the station, the police violently haul Alex inside, and Alex realizes that “I was going to get nothing like fair play from these stinky grahzny bratchnies, Bog blast them.”
Paradoxically, Alex’s complete self-centeredness motivates him to view himself as the only person capable of sound leadership and decision-making, while at the same time attributing all mistakes to his friends. Both Alex and his droogs are willing to betray one another at the slightest provocation, and this indicates that social relationships in Alex’s universe tend to be largely self-serving for everyone involved. The minute it stops being convenient for Alex to align with his droogs, he pivots and tries to snitch on them for his own benefit. What’s more, the dysfunction of Alex’s own relationships may indicate a larger societal problem.
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Sadism and Society Theme Icon
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