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Headscratchers / A Clockwork Orange

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  • Wait, if Alex cannot commit suicide, does suicide count as "violence"? I don't see the relation between suicide and violence. If anything, the Ludovico process is already suicide incarnate itself.
  • The cat lady was suspicious of the knock on the door because it was similar to the setup of the assault on the writer and his wife, and told this to the police. When Alex is arrested, apparently no attempt is made to connect him to the earlier crime, since the newspapers are full of stories about the rehabilitation of the cat lady's murderer, and the writer knew who he was from those, but not because the police ever told him they'd found the man who raped his wife.
    • Fridge Brilliance: The government consider the writer to be a subversive; maybe they just didn't bother investigating the crimes committed against his family for that reason? From what we see of the police in Alex's society, they seem to be more hired muscle for the powerful than guardians of society.
    • The police didn't have enough evidence to convict him of previous crimes. Similarity of MO isn't proof. As far as the author not knowing that Alex was his own tormentor ahead of time, that's a bit of a plot hole. We might be expected to believe that teenage hooligans are so common that the author couldn't know that Alex was his own tormentor based on his crimes, but that flies in the face of the fact that the cat lady was clearly able to match Alex's MO to her own situation. Given the fact that the author has read about Alex, he should at least have an idea that Alex might be the one who killed his wife.
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    • Remember, Alex ended up sneaking into the Cat Lady's house after the car accident ruse failed. Since the Cat Lady was killed and thus unable to testify to anything and there was obvious evidence Alex snuck in, there would be no way of them knowing Alex tried the ruse unless he told them for whatever reason. From a police standpoint, it was a simple case of a guy breaking in and killed someone.
    • But the cat lady already told the cops on the phone that it was similar to the earlier break in.
  • When Alex is released from prison, in both the book and movie, he's more or less dumped into the street and told to go away. In Real Life, people leaving prisons generally do so in a graduated way, at least in the US... they go to a "halfway house" where they re-learn how to function in the free world, and only after they've completed that are they turned loose. What did they expect when they just turned Alex loose, success or something? Even his parents didn't know that he was going to be getting out!
    • The government doesn't care as long as crime rates go down and they avoid bad press. That's the whole point.
    • In the book, they do make sure he has a place to go upon his release (as far as Alex knew, he was going home to his parents' and mentions wanting to surprise them) and even provide him with a list of job openings. Clearly they had high hopes for their treatment creating functional members of society!
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    • More like they would've wanted a good outcome for the first patient so they could a.) put it into widespread use, and b.) any time it failed, say, "Well, it worked for this guy!"
  • Alex only got fourteen years for murder? If Alex was fifteen in the novel and served his full sentence, he would be twenty-nine at his release. Didn't the UK have the life sentence, or are the prisons so over-crowded that judges are giving out short sentences?
    • In the book, the government's primary concern is with overcrowding prisons (they put 7 inmates in a cell meant for 3 at one point), so, yeah.
    • A 'life sentence' very rarely means literal imprisonment for life, but refers instead to the fact that the convict can never 'spend' the conviction - when he is released, it is only on parole. The judge decides how long they must be imprisoned before being considered for parole. In England, the minimum term for murder is 10 years. 14 years for a violent murder seems about right.
    • Sentences in much of Europe are much shorter than in the United States. For instance Arnfinn Nesset confessed to the murder of 27 people and is suspected of killing at least 138 people total and was sentenced to 21 years in prison, which was the maximum punishment allowed for any crime in Norway. He was even released after 12 years for good behavior.
    • Life sentences are generally only given out for either premeditated or especially sadistic murderers in most European countries. Alex tried to knock that woman out but accidentally ended up killing her, so it's possible that he was actually charged with voluntary manslaughter, and got a harsher than usual sentence for that crime thanks to his past record.
  • So the government uses Brave New World-style "deep hypnopedia" techniques to "cure" Alex of his previous "cure" while he's in the hospital. If they possess such successful hypnopedic techniques... why didn't they just use that in the first place to condition Alex against violence instead of using that Mind Rape technique?
    • I read the book a few years ago, but I think they mention that it's a new, untested procedure and Alex is the first guinea pig for it. I think it's implied that they eventually intend to apply it to the whole population a lá Huxley.
    • I believe the movie also mentions it's a new treatment.
      • Alex explictly describes the Ludovico Technique to the chaplain as "this new thing they're all talking about" and "a new treatment [that] gets you out of prison in no time, And makes sure you never get back in again", claiming he heard about it during his imprisonment. Most likely, the Ludovico Tecnique went in the testing phase while Alex was already in jail and Alex heard of it from smuggled newspapers and from the guards as he told the priest, or the news about it were planted among convicts to seek for voluntary.
  • Okay, this may be the most obvious one, but why the title, "A Clockwork Orange"?
    • In the book, it's the title of the novel the writer was working on. There are several explanations, you can find more on the other wiki
      • Alex also asks if the government vecks are trying to turn him into one after the Ludovico treatment.
      • An orange is useless to eat if it's made of clockwork, a person is useless if they can't choose.
      • It can conceivably mean something that looks natural but really isn't.
  • Why did Alex want to join the Ludovico program in the first place? He still enjoys the good old ultraviolence while in prison and would assumedly only want to get out of prison to return to his old habits, so what is his motive for taking part in such an extreme and aggressive medical treatment?
    • Alex doesn't know the details. He assumes that he'll be able to play along with some sort of therapy and pretend to be good long enough to get let out of prison. He already pretends to be good to his parents, the chaplain, etc. He has no idea that the treatment it will so thoroughly seize control of his mind and body.
    • And given a choice between getting out of prison in 2 weeks or in 12 more years - well, he doesn't "enjoy" prison that much.

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