A Clockwork Orange

The narrator and protagonist of A Clockwork Orange. Alex is a smart “nadsat” [teen] boy with a penchant for what he calls “ultra-violence,” as well as a deep love for classical music. He is a manipulative sociopath, and he rarely feels remorse for his reprehensible actions. After being sent to prison when he is caught after committing heinous acts such as rape and murder, Alex elects to undergo Reclamation Therapy in order to be released from prison. This therapy makes him unable to even think about violence without experiencing pain, and also keeps him from enjoying music—but it does not seem to actually teach him about right and wrong. Post-therapy, he is so anguished by the sound of music that he attempts suicide, and survives only after receiving a blood transplant, which also reverses the Reclamation Therapy. Years after splitting from his first gang of “droogs,” Alex finds a newly-married Pete in a coffeehouse, and seems stirred to settle into a more moral life.

Alex Quotes in A Clockwork Orange

The A Clockwork Orange quotes below are all either spoken by Alex or refer to Alex. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the W. W. Norton & Company edition of A Clockwork Orange published in 1995.
Part 1, Chapter 1 Quotes

You came back to here and now whimpering sort of, with your rot all squaring up for a boohoohoo. Now that’s very nice but very cowardly. You were not put on this earth just to get in touch with God. That sort of thing could sap all the strength and the goodness out of a chelloveck.

Related Characters: Alex (speaker)
Page Number: 6
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 1, Chapter 2 Quotes

But poor old Dim kept looking up at the stars and planets and the Luna with his rot wide open like a kid who’d never viddied any such things before, and he said:
“What’s on them, I wonder. What would be up there on things like that?”
I nudged him hard, saying: “Come, gloopy bastard as thou art. Think thou not on them. There’ll be life like down here most likely, with some getting knifed and others doing the knifing. And now, with the nochy still molodoy, let us be on our way, O my brothers.”

Related Characters: Alex (speaker), Dim (speaker)
Page Number: 21
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 1, Chapter 3 Quotes

He’d taken a big snotty tashtook from his pocket and was mopping the red flow puzzled, keeping on looking at it frowning as if he thought that blood was for other vecks and not for him. It was like he was singing blood to make up for his vulgarity when that devotchka was singing music. But that devotchka was smecking away ha ha ha now with her droogs at the bar, her red rot working and her zoobies ashine, not having noticed Dim’s filthy vulgarity. It was me really Dim had done wrong to.

Related Characters: Alex (speaker), Dim
Page Number: 32-33
Explanation and Analysis:

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Oh, bliss, bliss and heaven. I lay all nagoy to the ceiling, my gulliver on my rookers on the pillow, glazzies closed, rot open in bliss, slooshying the sluice of lovely sounds. Oh, it was gorgeousness and gorgeosity made flesh. The trombones crunched redgold under my bed, and behind my gulliver the trumpets three-wise silverflamed, and there by the door the timps rolling through my guts and out again crunched like candy thunder. Oh, it was wonder of wonders. And then, a bird of like rarest spun heavenmetal, or like silvery wine flowing in a spaceship, gravity all nonsense now, came the violin solo above all the other strings, and those strings were like a cage of silk around my bed. Then flute and oboe bored, like worms of like platinum, into the thick thick toffee gold and silver. I was in such bliss, my brothers.

Related Characters: Alex (speaker)
Page Number: 37
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 1, Chapter 4 Quotes

Just because the police have not picked you up lately doesn’t, as you very well know, mean you’ve not been up to some nastiness.

Related Characters: P.R. Deltoid (speaker), Alex
Page Number: 42-43
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 1, Chapter 5 Quotes

More, badness is of the self, the one, the you or me on our oddy knockies, and that self is made by old Bog or God and is his great pride and radosty. But the not-self cannot have the bad, meaning they of the government and the judges and the schools cannot allow the bad because they cannot allow the self. And is not our modern history, my brothers, the story of brave malenky selves fighting these big machines? I am serious with you, brothers, over this. But what I do I do because I like to do.

Related Characters: Alex (speaker)
Page Number: 44-45
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 1, Chapter 6 Quotes

Bog murder you, you vonny stinking bratchnies. 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 all their idea, brothers. They like forced me to do it. I’m innocent, Bog butcher you.

Related Characters: Alex (speaker), Dim, Pete, Georgie
Page Number: 71
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 1, Chapter 7 Quotes

“Righty right, boys, we’ll start off by showing him that we know the law, too, but that knowing the law isn’t everything.”

Related Characters: Alex
Page Number: 75
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 2, Chapter 1 Quotes

…and that was the end of traitorous Georgie. The starry murderer had got off with Self Defence, as was really right and proper. Georgie being killed, though it was more than one year after me being caught by the millicents, it all seemed right and proper and like Fate.

Related Characters: Alex (speaker), Georgie
Page Number: 87
Explanation and Analysis:

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Himself has grave doubts about it. 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.

Related Characters: The Prison Chaplain (speaker), Alex
Page Number: 93
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 2, Chapter 2 Quotes

Common criminals like this unsavoury crowd…can best be dealt with on a purely curative basis. Kill the criminal reflex, that’s all. Full implementation in a year’s time. Punishment means nothing to them, you can see that. They enjoy their so-called punishment. They start murdering each other.

Related Characters: The Minister of the Interior (speaker), Alex
Page Number: 102
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 2, Chapter 3 Quotes

It may not be nice to be good, little 6655321. It may be horrible to be good. And when I say that to you I realize how self-contradictory that sounds. I know I shall have many sleepless nights about this. What does God want? Does God want woodness or the choice of goodness? Is a man who chooses the bad perhaps in some ways better than a man who has the good imposed upon him…You are passing now to a region where you will be beyond the reach of the power of prayer. A terrible terrible thing to consider. And yet, in a sense, in choosing to be deprive of the ability to make an ethical choice, you have in a sense really chosen the good.

Related Characters: The Prison Chaplain (speaker), Alex
Related Symbols: Christianity
Page Number: 106
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 2, Chapter 4 Quotes

This was real, very real, though if you thought about it properly you couldn’t imagine lewdies actually agreeing to having all this done to them in a film, and if these films were made by the Good or the State you couldn’t imagine them being allowed to take these films without like interfering with what was going on.

Related Characters: Alex (speaker)
Page Number: 116
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 2, Chapter 5 Quotes

I do not wish to describe, brothers, what other horrible veshches I was like forced to viddy that afternoon. The like minds of this Dr. Brodsky and Dr. Branom and the others in white coats, and remember there was this devotchka twiddling with the knobs and watching the meters, they must have been more cally and filthy than any prestoopnick in the Staja itself. Because I did not think it was possible for any veck to even think of making films of what I was forced to viddy, all tied to this chair and my glazzies made to be wide open.

Related Characters: Alex (speaker), Dr. Brodsky, Dr. Branom
Page Number: 119
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part 2, Chapter 6 Quotes

Stop, you grahzny disgusting sods. It’s a sin, that’s what it is, a filthy unforgivable sin, you bratchnies!... Using Ludwig van like that. He did no harm to anyone. Beethoven just wrote music.

Related Characters: Alex (speaker)
Page Number: 127
Explanation and Analysis:

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And what, brothers, I had to escape into sleep from then was the horrible and wrong feeling that it was better to get the hit than give it. If that veck had stayed I might even have like presented the other cheek.

Related Characters: Alex (speaker)
Related Symbols: Christianity
Page Number: 135
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 2, Chapter 7 Quotes

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 to be a wrongdoer. He ceases also to be a creature capable of moral choice.

Related Characters: The Prison Chaplain (speaker), Alex
Page Number: 141
Explanation and Analysis:

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He will be your true Christian…ready to turn the other cheek, ready to be crucified rather than crucify, sick to the very heart at the thought even of killing a fly.

Related Characters: Dr. Brodsky (speaker), Alex
Related Symbols: Christianity
Page Number: 143
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 3, Chapter 1 Quotes

You’ve made others suffer…It’s only right you should suffer proper. I’ve been told everything that you’ve done, sitting here at night round the family table, and pretty shocking it was to listen to. Made me real sick a lot of it did.

Related Characters: Joe (speaker), Alex
Page Number: 155
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 3, Chapter 2 Quotes

It was that these doctor bratchnies had so fixed things that any music that was like for the emotions would make me sick just like viddying or wanting to do violence. It was because all those violence films had music with them. And I remembered especially that horrible Nazi film with the Beethoven Fifth, last movement. And now here was lovely Mozart made horrible.

Related Characters: Alex (speaker), Dr. Brodsky, Dr. Branom
Page Number: 157
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 3, Chapter 4 Quotes

You’ve sinned, I suppose, but your punishment has been out of all proportion. They have turned you into something other than a human being. You have no power of choice any longer. You are committed to socially acceptable acts, a little machine capable only of good. And I see that clearly—that business about the marginal conditionings. Music and the sexual act, literature and art, all must be a source now not of pleasure but of pain.

Related Characters: F. Alexander (speaker), Alex
Page Number: 174
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 3, Chapter 5 Quotes

When I woke up I could hear slooshy music coming out of the wall, real gromky, and it was that that had dragged me out of my bit of like sleep. It was a symphony that I knew real horrorshow but had not slooshied for many a year, namely the Symphony Number Three of the Danish veck Otto Skadelig, a very gromky and violent piece, especially in the first movement, which was what was playing now. I slooshied for two seconds in like interest and joy, but then it all came over me, the start of the pain and the sickness, and I began to groan deep down in my keeshkas. And then there I was, me who had loved music so much, crawling off the bed and going oh oh oh to myself and then bang bang banging on the wall creching: “Stop, stop it, turn it off!”

Related Characters: Alex (speaker)
Page Number: 186-187
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 3, Chapter 6 Quotes

Oh it was gorgeosity and yumyumyum. When it came to the Scherzo I could viddy myself very clear running and running on like very light and mysterious nogas, carving the whole litso of the creeching world with my cut-throat britva. And there was the slow movement and the lovely last singing movement still to come. I was cured all right.

Related Characters: Alex (speaker)
Page Number: 199
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 3, Chapter 7 Quotes

Tomorrow is all like sweet flowers and the turning vonny earth and the stars and the old Luna up there and your old droog Alex all on his oddy knocky seeking like a mate. And all that cal. A terrible grahzny vonny world, really, O my brothers. And so farewell from your little droog. And to all others in this story profound shooms of lipmusic brrrrrr. And they can kiss my shames. But you, O my brothers, remember sometimes thy little Alex that was. Amen. And all that cal.

Related Characters: Alex (speaker)
Page Number: 212
Explanation and Analysis:

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Get the entire A Clockwork Orange LitChart as a printable PDF.
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Alex Character Timeline in A Clockwork Orange

The timeline below shows where the character Alex appears in A Clockwork Orange. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 1
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In a strange slang dialect that mixes non-English words and elevated diction, Alex recounts sitting in the Korova Milkbar and making plans with his three “droogs,” Dim, Pete,... (full context)
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Next to Alex sits a man who is high on drugs and babbling incoherently. Alex recalls the sensation... (full context)
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Alex decides to leave, and strikes the babbling man on his way out. The street is... (full context)
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...have been subdued, the boys empty the cash register and take some cigarettes for themselves. Alex considers raping the owner’s wife, but decides he will have sex later that evening. (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 2
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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... (full context)
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Alex and the droogs come across a rival named Billyboy and his gang of five droogs.... (full context)
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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... (full context)
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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... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 3
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...The bar is full of carousing “nadsats” [teens]. A girl nearby begins to sing, and Alex suddenly gets goosebumps. He recognizes the song as part of a German opera. Alex then... (full context)
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...all go home, and they agree to meet the next day at the Korova Milkbar. Alex walks back to the apartment he shares with his parents. When he enters, his parents... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 4
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Alex wakes up early the next morning, but decides that he doesn’t feel like going to... (full context)
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Alex drifts back to sleep and experiences an uncanny dream. In it, Georgie wears a military... (full context)
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Alex wakes up with his heart racing, and he realizes that the buzzing noise was his... (full context)
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After P.R. Deltoid leaves, Alex brews tea and reflects on the adviser’s warnings. Alex acknowledges that he leads an immoral... (full context)
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While he eats breakfast, Alex browses the newspaper and comes across an article on “Modern Youth.” Such articles are common,... (full context)
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Alex sets out for the day. He muses that while nighttime belongs to him and his... (full context)
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After lunch, Alex brings the girls back to his apartment. He gives them liquor and plays records, while... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 5
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Alex wakes up in the evening. His parents are dining at home, and he emerges from... (full context)
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Before leaving, Alex hands his father some money to buy liquor. He is surprised to find Dim, Pete,... (full context)
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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... (full context)
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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... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 6
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...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... (full context)
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Alex exits the house and sees Pete and Georgie running away, while Dim stands on the... (full context)
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Alex is thrown into a police car and carted off to the station. All the while,... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 7
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In the station, a higher-ranking official comes to inspect Alex. Alex says he won’t speak until he has a lawyer, and the official responds that... (full context)
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After this beatdown, P.R. Deltoid enters the station. He expresses weary, unsurprised disappointment to see Alex arrested. The police official offers to hold Alex down and let Deltoid punch the boy.... (full context)
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A stenographer appears to transcribe Alex’s testimony. Alex decides to tell of his violent escapades in their entirety, and makes sure... (full context)
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Alex falls asleep in the cell. In his dream, he hears Beethoven’s Ninth symphony, but with... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 1
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Alex resumes the story two years after Part 1 concluded. He is serving a fourteen-year sentence... (full context)
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It is Sunday, and Alex is assisting with a fire-and-brimstone sermon conducted by the prison “charlie.” Someone makes a disrespectful... (full context)
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The chaplain has taken a liking to Alex, as Alex has devoted himself to studying the bible. This is a ruse to listen... (full context)
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Once his work with the chaplain is finished, Alex is escorted back to his cell. His cellmates are reprehensible criminals, but Alex is relieved... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 2
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The entrance of this new prisoner sets in motion Alex’s release from Staja. The new prisoner is a boastful, quarrelsome man, who picks on Alex... (full context)
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...out. One cellmate holds the new prisoner down while the others take turns punching him; Alex hits the man especially zealously. Afterwards, Alex falls asleep and dreams a bizarrely sexual dream... (full context)
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...died of a heart attack during the night. The cellmates all agree that it was Alex’s overenthusiastic beating that killed the man. That day, the prison is locked down. An important-looking... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 3
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The next morning, Alex is brought into the prison Governor’s office. The Governor explains that the man Alex met... (full context)
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After his meeting with the Governor, Alex is summoned to the prison chaplain’s office. The chaplain tells the guards to wait outside,... (full context)
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The following morning, Alex is escorted to a newly constructed medical compound near the prison. Dr. Branom, an assistant... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 4
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The orderly wheels Alex into a strange room with a projector, a sound system, and a series of meters.... (full context)
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After a cap covered with wires is affixed to Alex’s head, Dr. Brodsky enters the room and gives the order to begin the film. The... (full context)
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After this film, Alex begins to feel ill—he attributes this to malnourishment from prison food. A new film starts... (full context)
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Alex is shown a handful of other films, all as graphically violent as the first. He... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 5
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Alex refuses to detail the other horrors he was forced to see on film that day.... (full context)
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After Branom is done consulting with Alex, a Discharge Officer comes to speak to Alex. The Discharge Officer ensures that Alex will... (full context)
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Alex eats dinner and goes to sleep. He has a dream in which he and a... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 6
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The next day, Alex is subjected to more violent films, and they cause him so much pain that he... (full context)
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The doctors show Alex a clip of Nazi war crimes, set to the last movement of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.... (full context)
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Brodsky then explains to Alex that his injections administered a substance that conditions him to associate violence with nausea. Alex... (full context)
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Alex endures more of the sickening movies. One morning, he is not given an injection, and... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 7
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The day before Alex’s release has arrived. He is given his knife and his regular clothes to wear, and... (full context)
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Two spotlights appear on the stage, illuminating Alex and an unfamiliar, sleazy-looking man. The man begins to insult and hit Alex, while the... (full context)
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...the audience has any questions, and the prison chaplain speaks up. The chaplain protests that Alex is no longer able to make ethical choices. Brodsky responds that the therapy’s concerns are... (full context)
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...prompts Dr. Brodsky to bring a beautiful young woman onto the stage. Upon seeing her, Alex is overcome with an urge to have sex with her, but this brings back his... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 1
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After his onstage humiliation and a day full of media interviews, Alex is released from the treatment facility. He has a bag of his possessions and a... (full context)
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Alex catches a bus to his family’s apartment building. Once there, he is surprised by how... (full context)
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Alex’s mother introduces the man as Joe, a lodger who has taken up residence in Alex’s... (full context)
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Alex asks his parents what they expect him to do if he cannot live at home,... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 2
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Back out in the winter cold, Alex walks around, directionless. He returns to his usual record store, but instead of finding the... (full context)
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Alex next goes to the Korova Milkbar, where he orders a large helping of intoxicants. He... (full context)
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After this vision, Alex understands that he wants to kill himself. He considers cutting his wrists with his knife,... (full context)
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The library is full of decrepit old men. Alex tries to consult some reference books, but finds them impenetrable. He grabs a Bible off... (full context)
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Alex tries to flee the library, but the scholar and his geriatric peers descend upon him.... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 3
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The police escort Alex away from his assailants. Alex watches two policemen gleefully beating the elderly men, and thinks... (full context)
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Dusk has fallen, and Alex, Dim, Billyboy, and the police car’s driver have reached the remote countryside. Dim and Billyboy... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 4
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Alex walks through freezing rain and comes across a familiar-looking hamlet. Bruised and disheveled, he walks... (full context)
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The man tends to Alex’s wounds. Meanwhile, Alex recalls that the man was writing a book called A Clockwork Orange.... (full context)
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After Alex is given a bath, clean clothes, and a generous meal, his host recognizes him from... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 5
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Alex wakes up in his host’s home feeling safe and well-rested. He decides to look for... (full context)
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Alex comes downstairs for breakfast, and F. Alexander explains that he has been up for hours... (full context)
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Three of F. Alexander’s political allies come to the house to meet Alex. Alex greets them in typical nadsat... (full context)
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F. Alexander fixates on the word “dim” and recalls that it sounds like a familiar name. Alex... (full context)
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Once the men leave him, Alex goes to sleep. When he wakes up, he hears music playing—it is a familiar symphony... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 6
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Alex’s body is damaged extensively from his fall, and while this causes him extraordinary pain, it... (full context)
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Several people come to visit Alex, including the prison chaplain, who reveals that he has left the penal system to preach... (full context)
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After he wakes up from these dreams, Alex is able to speak more clearly. His parents show up to visit him, and he... (full context)
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Alex’s parents leave. A nurse tells Alex that he has been hospitalized for a week after... (full context)
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More time passes, and Alex is notified that he will receive an important visitor. That afternoon, the Minister of the... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 7
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Alex sits in the Korova Milkbar with his three new droogs: Len, Rick, and Bully. As... (full context)
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A wave of restlessness comes over Alex; he claims he has recently felt “bored” and “hopeless.” He punches the nearby drunk in... (full context)
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Alex pulls some money out of his pocket. In doing so, he accidentally pulls out a... (full context)
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Now walking alone, Alex reflects that the culture of “ultra-violence” is being diminished due to a heightened police presence.... (full context)
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Alex and Pete converse, and Alex is aghast to learn that Pete’s female companion is his... (full context)
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After he leaves the café, Alex walks the winter streets and thinks about his future. He is struck by an appealing... (full context)
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To conclude the story, Alex addresses the reader directly. He is not young anymore, he explains; he has grown up.... (full context)