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Discuss the Ways In Which Burgess Depicts the “Fall From Grace” of Alex.

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Introduction

A Clockwork Orange: Alex's Downfall Discuss the ways in which Burgess depicts the "fall from grace" of Alex. Alex's downfall is a long, drawn out process, which begins in the house of the old lady in chapter six of part one. But before one is even inside the house, Alex treats one to a description of the "Oldtown". It is full of "starry type houses", without a "flatblock" in sight. Here there is no state-control - everything is from a time before repression, when people had free will. The place where Alex meets his match is symbolic: it is unfamiliar, just as losing fights is unfamiliar to him; it is prone to robbery, just as he is prone to attack in strange surroundings; finally, it is not state-controlled, just as his actions here are not controlled. They lack the choreography and order of an attack "on his own turf", and consequently, anything could happen. When Alex is finally in confrontation with the old "ptitsa", he finds she is much more of a challenge than he expected. ...read more.

Middle

This place is also unfamiliar to him - this is indicated by his full account of the sights ("bright-lit", "whitewashed"), smells ("sick and lavatories", "beery rots and disinfectant") and sounds ("cursing and singing", "owwwwwwwww"). Alex's hatred of the police station is suggested by such lines as, "very big fat bastard", and his description of dried sweat and earwax. He is so close to the "millicents", his enemies, and his discomfort is evident. His disgust for them is heightened by the fact that they seem out of place in the clean, white state architecture of the building. Once again, the joke is on Alex. The "rozzers" enjoy treating him like a toy, throwing him to each other and beating him up. It tells the reader that his disgust for them is matched by their disgust for him. The result of their fun is that he is sick. This is all the more degrading because it is something that Alex himself despises. There is an ironic role reversal - he has become the repulsive drunken man that he hated so much earlier in part one. ...read more.

Conclusion

There is also another ironic role reversal in chapter one of part two. "What's it going to be then, eh?" is used to start part two off, as it was used to start the book. Only now it is the prison chaplain that is saying it. He has filled the space that Alex used to occupy - he is now the dictator, and Alex is the one who has to listen. Once again, his own language has been turned against him. This is also the case with "in and out" - it no longer means sex, but punishment. The whole of Alex's fall from grace is a role reversal. His language, his actions and his identity are turned inside out and used against him. His friends become his enemies, and his enemies, in particular the prison chaplain, become his "friends", being the ones that will eventually get him out of prison. It could almost be said that his downfall is a blessing in disguise - it has changed his life, and at the end of the second chapter of part two, one almost feels that he may become cured... ...read more.

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