A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange Part 1, Chapter 3 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The boys drive until the car runs out of gas, and they then push it into a canal. They walk to a nearby train station and ride back into the city center. Once in the center, the droogs walk back to the Korova Milkbar. The babbling man is still there, and Dim strikes his foot, but the man is too drugged to notice. 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 notices Dim making vulgar jokes, and is furious that Dim would disrespect the music. Alex reaches over and punches Dim in the mouth. Dim, puzzled, asks why Alex punched him, and Alex tells him he is behaving inappropriately. Dim, indignant, tells Alex that he resents his authority. As the two bicker, Pete tries to resolve the conflict, but Alex asserts his authority further. Alex tells the group that he is the one who gives orders. Even though Pete and Dim have voiced disapproval with Alex’s behavior, all the droogs reluctantly go along with Alex’s words.
Alex’s conduct here is out of character. Up until this point, he has completely disregarded social norms; suddenly, the presence of music makes him hyper-respectful. Throughout the book, Alex’s appreciation for the fine arts clashes with his sociopathic tendencies and complicates his character. This exchange itself encapsulates the conflicting aspects of Alex’s persona: on one hand, his reverence for music is admirable, yet on the other, this same reverence exacerbates his tendency to dominate his droogs.
Themes
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Dim suggests that the droogs 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 are asleep, but his mother has left him dinner. After eating greedily, Alex goes to his room and plays a classical music recording. His parents will not bother him about the noise, because he has “taught” them not to. Alex lies on his bed and listens joyfully to the music. Beethoven and Bach make him think more about the meaning of A Clockwork Orange, and he reflects that if he could go back to the cottage called HOME, he would assault its occupants even more viciously.
Alex’s home dynamic affirms that no force in his life prevents him from being governed by his immediate impulses. Instead of deferring to his parents, he has manipulated and frightened them into accommodating his whims. He finds gratification in loud music, without regard for whether it will disturb others. The beautiful classical music he loves is again connected with violence, and for him there seems to be a kind of beauty in violence, in breaking with social convention and causing torment.
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