A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange Part 2, Chapter 2 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
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 and tries to molest him in the middle of the night. Alex retaliates by punching his assailant in the face, and the rest of the cellmates join the assault. When Alex tries to report the new prisoner’s behavior to the warders, they claim that Alex was likely the instigator.
Alex’s sociopathic behavior has placed him in a “boy who cried wolf” situation. He is so eager to shift blame from himself onto others, that other people have begun to assume Alex is guilty even in cases when others are at fault. Notably, however, Alex’s cellmates are on his side in this situation. He would have been more at risk without these allies, just as his attempt to rob the Manse alone led to his downfall.
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Back in the cell, the occupants bicker. The new prisoner calls a Jewish inmate an offensive slur, and despite some cellmates’ efforts at mediation, a fight breaks 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 in which he plays a phallic wind instrument in an orchestra, and is berated by his conductor.
The confusing nature of Alex’s dream signals that more ambiguous—but likely trying—times await in his near future. On one hand, Alex’s dream is pleasurable, but on the other, he is scolded by an authority figure. This foreshadows that Alex will again suffer at the hands of those more powerful as a consequence of gratifying some of his baser impulses.
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That morning, the cellmates discover that the new prisoner has 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 man, accompanied by the prison Governor, comes to Alex’s cell. The man speaks of curing the criminal impulse, and decides that Alex can be the first to undergo a transformative procedure at the hands of someone named Dr. Brodsky. This decision, Alex recalls, marks the beginning of his liberation.
This event illustrates yet again the importance of social networks and alliances—only this time, these alliances have conspired to shut Alex out and scapegoat him. On his own again, Alex is incapable of refuting the allegations against him. His cellmates’ complicity in the killing doesn’t matter, just as his droogs’ involvement in the Manse robbery is ignored by the police.
Themes
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