A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange Part 1, Chapter 7 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
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 “knowing the law isn’t everything.” A policeman then strikes Alex in the stomach. Alex responds by kicking him in the shins, and this provokes the rest of the policemen to set upon Alex.
In much the same way that Alex will instantly backpedal on his rhetoric and betray his droogs, the police will also compromise their ethical obligations in order to exact petty vengeance. While Alex’s violent, deceitful behavior may be particularly reprehensible, the misconduct of other members of society illustrates that Alex’s behavior is different only in degree, and not in kind.
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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. Deltoid instead draws close to Alex, spits in his face, and leaves.
Deltoid’s character is a difficult one to decipher. He may have been genuinely concerned for Alex’s well-being, and his insulting gesture may be meant to signify his profound disappointment. On the other hand, Deltoid may simply be the same sort of gleeful sadist as the policemen who beat up Alex earlier in the evening.
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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 to implicate his droogs in the crimes as well. After Alex tells his story, his is sent to a cell. Several prisoners try to molest him, and he brawls with them until some policemen come to subdue the other prisoners.
Because Alex is narrating his own story, it is easy to lose track of how young and immature he really is. The prisoners’ eagerness to molest Alex shows that, despite his sociopathic bravado, he is still often perceived as a vulnerable boy. Just as Alex’s love for classical music complicates his persona, so does his status as a child. Is he really as heartless as he appears to be, or is he simply a teenager, immature , rebellious, and vulnerable to being influenced and taken advantage of by others?
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Alex falls asleep in the cell. In his dream, he hears Beethoven’s Ninth symphony, but with words that threaten retribution for the violence Alex has committed. Alex is awakened by a policeman, who tells him that “lovely news” awaits. Alex is taken to speak with the high-ranking official. The boy addresses the official sarcastically, and from the official’s manner he correctly predicts the news he’ll receive: the old woman has died from her wounds.
In this dream, Alex’s respect for music actually appears to correlate to positive behaviors—just as the columnist who venerated “A Lively Appreciation of the Arts” had predicted. Though Alex’s manner upon waking shows that he has a great deal to learn, his dream does suggest that whatever humanity lies beneath his sadism may someday help him learn to differentiate right and wrong.
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