A Clockwork Orange Questions and Answers
by Anthony Burgess

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What dystopian features in A Clockwork Orange dehumanize characters?

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The storyline bounces between two forms of sadism and dehumanization. The first is the violent acts of the main character, Alex. He is a young gang leader who violently rapes a woman and beats several victims. He is written as a cold hearted psychopath whose acts dehumanize his victims. He lives a life of ultra-violence with little regard for those around him. When he is incarcerated the plot switches to show the brutality of the State's solution. The Minister of the Interior forces Alex to undergo the Ludovico Technique. He is forced to watch brutal imagery paired with music and becomes nauseated by the thought of it. The state dehumanizes Alex by removing his freewill. The story brilliantly shows how the solution to violence in American culture is often further violence.

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A dystopia is a form of a society that is in a repressed state, usually under the facade of being utopian. The government in A Clockwork Orange uses the Ludovico Technique to force goodness upon criminals by disabling them from performing any kind of violence. Although the battle between good and evil is a common theme in most literature, A Clockwork Orange introduces a slightly twisted question: which is worse, chosen evil or forced good?

The Ludovico Technique used on Alex in the novel represents the government's interference with personal liberties, and the potential dangers of such interferences. It is easily comparable to one of the most famous dystopia novels, 1984 by George Orwell, in which government brainwashing of Oceania's citizens was commonly used as method of control.

 

*Ludovico Technique involves forcing a patient to watch violent images and films for a long time, while under the influence of nausea-inducing dug. After several sessions, violence is directly associated with extreme nausea and the patient is unable to perform any kind of violence without being affected by nausea.