Study Guide

A Clockwork Orange Part 1, Chapter 4

By Anthony Burgess

Part 1, Chapter 4

  • Alex wakes up at 8 a.m. and feels pretty bad physically.
  • His mother enters the room, urging him to go to school.
  • Alex responds that he has a headache and wants to sleep instead.
  • Mom puts his breakfast in the oven and hurries off to her job at a supermarket.
  • Alex drifts back to dreamland, and has a nightmare in which Georgie is a powerful commander general indicting him for one crime or another. Then Dim runs after Alex and beats him up.
  • Alex wakes up with his heart palpitating fast. The doorbell goes off.
  • At the door is P. R. Deltoid, Alex's Post-Corrective Adviser, stopping by to check up on him.
  • Alex explains that he has ditched school because of a rather intolerable pain in the head, and offers P. R. Deltoid some tea.
  • P. R. Deltoid declines the tea, stating that there's no time for it, and proceeds to play some word/mind-game with Alex. He warns Alex that he had better stay out of trouble, or he's going to go to jail if he gets caught.
  • Alex denies that he's done anything worthy of worry.
  • P. R. Deltoid responds that he's heard about a fair amount of nastiness that occurred last night, and that Alex's name had been mentioned. So, even if the police can't prove anything about anybody, Alex has been forewarned.
  • P. R. Deltoid muses out loud that Alex has a loving home, a great set of parents, and isn't dumb—so why has he turned out this way?
  • Alex continues with the "I don't know what you're talking about" approach.
  • After P. R. Deltoid leaves, Alex dismisses his warnings as silly. He now muses over the concepts of goodness and badness, and wonders out loud that modern youths like himself commit crimes for the sheer enjoyment of it. Alex then waxes philosophical, concluding that if his government doesn't allow bad behavior, then it denies its constituents a life to live and, by definition, ceases to be a government at all.
  • Alex has his breakfast and reads the paper. The usual ultra-violence, bank robberies, and strikes litter the news. A certain article on modern youth amuses him, but he dismisses most of its analyses as stupid and without insight.
  • Alex recalls reading and liking one article by a certain clergyman who claims the devil is responsible for the ultra-violent modern youth. Finding that this theory conveniently absolves him of any moral responsibility, Alex approves.
  • Alex gets dressed with the radio playing. A familiar string quartet plays and Alex is overjoyed. He thinks about another article he once read, about how appreciation for the arts and music could make modern youth more civilized. Alex totally agrees.
  • On his way out to the record store to pick up a copy of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, Alex notes that the day is completely different from the night. The night belongs to young folks like him, the day to old fogies and the policemen that protect them.
  • Alex gets to Melodia, the record store at Taylor Place and eyes two ten-year-old girls in there, who are also playing hooky.
  • He asks the storekeeper, old Andy, for Beethoven's Ninth.
  • While paying for his new record, one of the girls flirts with Alex. Alex gets an idea in his head, and promptly flirts back, promising food and music if they'll leave with him.
  • Alex buys the girls, named Marty and Sonietta, spaghetti, sausages, cream-puffs, banana-splits, and hot chocolate. Then he orders a taxi to bring them back to Municipal Flatblock 18A.
  • At his parents' flat, Alex gives the girls a lot of Scotch and plays for them the pop music they brought. He encourages them to drink more, and quickly.
  • By the time their discs have been spun two times, the girls are thoroughly drunk, hyped up, and jumping on Alex's beds.
  • Alex puts on Beethoven's Ninth and leaps on the girls, raping them to the joyous tunes of "Ode to Joy."
  • Alex lets them gather their things and kicks them out of the flat. He promptly dozes off to more "Ode to Joy."