A Clockwork Orange
by Anthony Burgess
A Clockwork Orange Part 2, Chapter 6 Summary
- This chapter opens with Alex screaming for the white coats to stop the film. He can't believe how torturous it is. Neither can we.
- Dr. Brodsky responds that Alex is doing really well; in fact, "first class."
- But it's the old Nazi film being shown again, accompanied by Ludwig van Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.
- Alex throws up while pleading with the white coats to stop the film and its musical accompaniment. He calls it a filthy unforgivable sin to play No. 5 while showing a Nazi film.
- Dr. Brodsky muses that he knows nothing about music himself, other than how it can be used as an emotional heightener.
- Dr. Branom calls it a necessary evil and the punishment "element" of the transformation technique that Alex is going through.
- Alex asks for a drink.
- Dr. Brodsky goes on to explain the classic conditioning and association treatment that he is being put through.
- Dr. Branom chimes in that it's like propaganda, or subliminal penetration.
- Alex wonders if it's the wires that are attached to him that make him ill.
- Dr. Brodsky denies this.
- It must be the needles, then, Alex reasons.
- Dr. Brodsky responds that it's no use objecting, because they could get this stuff of Ludovico's into his system in any way.
- Alex retreats, stating that he doesn't care about the ultraviolent films, but he won't forgive the white coats for playing Beethoven and Handel with the films.
- The white coats look a bit thoughtful before responding that it's just tough luck.
- Alex squirms, saying that he's learned his lesson and that his paradigm has been transformed. He's against violence, finally.
- The white coats state that there's no way he's cured yet, and definitely not until his body reacts automatically to violence – without further help, without the injection, and without the films, even.
- It doesn't matter, though, because only a little over a week remains of the treatment.
- The next day, Alex hits the nurse in order to avoid his shot.
- Unfortunately, this only results in four or five men in holding him down while another syringe gets jammed into his arm.
- Alex then skips the minutiae in his descriptions of the film-viewing. He states that the days seem to blend together as he's shown the same likeness of ultraviolent films: "Jap" torturers or Nazi shooters…whatever.
- Then, there comes a morning when he wakes up to have his breakfast and shot, and the nurse with the syringe never arrives.
- Today, Alex was going to walk to the screening room accompanied by a white coat.
- No syringes? None needed.
- The film rolls, and Alex feels sick. This time, though, he realizes that he can no longer blame the syringes for feeling sick and thirsty and full of aches. He realizes that the Ludovico stuff is like a vaccination, that his blood has been poisoned against the ultraviolence.
- Alex cries and cries and cries…
- That night, he lies in bed alone, contemplating escape.
- He fakes illness, crying out to the doctors that he is dying…
- White coats come running down the corridor to his rescue.
- Appendicitis! Pain! Appendicitis! (Seriously, that's what Alex screams.)
- A jangle of keys at the door. Alex prepares to throw his fists at the first fool that opens the locked door.
- Small problem: Alex envisions his unsuspecting victim in pain and a sickness arises in him as if it might kill him.
- Alex stumbles toward the bed in fear, moaning "urgh urgh urgh."
- The white coat witnesses what is happening and thinks it funny. He taunts Alex to a bit of a fist fight.
- Finally, while Alex lies there immobile, the white coat punches him in the face for his deceit.
- Alex learns that he's become a total weakling, and that it now feels better to him to be hit than to throw a punch.
- In fact, had the white coat stayed, he might have turned the other cheek.
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