A Clockwork Orange: Novel Summary: Part 1, Chapter 3

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Just outside of town, the stolen car runs out of gas and the gang pushes it into a filthy canal. They take the train back into the city center and return to the Korova Milkbar. In a lull between pop music songs, a woman suddenly bursts out singing a bit of opera. Alex is entranced, his hairs on end and shivering. But Dim reacts with a vulgar howl and a laugh, leading a disgusted Alex to punch him in the mouth, “for being a bastard with no manners.” Dim glowers at him and threatens, and Georgia and Pete stick up for him, but Alex responds, “There has to be a leader. Discipline there has to be. Right?” Dim suggests that they go home and get some sleep, making Alex uneasy.

They go their separate ways, with Alex returning to his parents’ apartment at Municipal Flatblock 18A, passing along the way a young man bleeding in the street, streaks of blood here and there, and a pair of girls’ underpants, probably ripped off in the act of rape. The communist-style artwork in the hall is defaced with sexual graffiti and the elevator damaged, but the apartment itself seems homelike. Alex eats the supper that his mother has left out for him, then retires to his room to listen to a violin concerto in his bedroom. Lying naked on his bed, Alex listens, and the beautiful music brings to his mind “lovely pictures” of violent acts. As the music rises to a climax, Alex reaches sexual climax. Next, he listens to Mozart, envisioning himself beating and crushing people’s faces. Just before falling asleep, listening to Bach, Alex remembers his victims in the country house, and the words a clockwork orange. He wishes that he had beaten his victims harder and ripped them to ribbons.

Analysis of Part 1, Chapter 3
Alex is no stupid, vulgar beast, as Dim is portrayed to be. He has the capacity to appreciate things of high and exquisite beauty, as we see through his love of classical music. Listening to music inspires Alex; it brings out his passions. However, while it  might be assumed that great works of art would inspire a person to greater heights of the self, the music awakens Alex’s lowest instincts instead.

The message is that humans are capable of great passion and power. Whether they use it for good or for evil is up to them. So far, Alex is still choosing to channel his artistic sensibilities and his energies toward evil and violence.

 

 

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