Study Guide

A Clockwork Orange Manipulation

By Anthony Burgess

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The Government in A Clockwork Orange will do anything to ensure its own survival—as well as the stability of the State. To that end, it employs questionable scientific techniques in order to manipulate its citizens into becoming moral exemplars. The manipulation technique used on Alex is, essentially, behavioral modification through associative learning.

Questions About Manipulation

  1. How many different kinds of manipulation can you name? In how many different ways does the Government manipulate its citizens in Alex's world? Through what means? For what purpose?
  2. What, in your view, is behavior modification? How is it done? Why is it done? How is it different from bribery, for example?
  3. Can advertising be seen as manipulation and as a behavior modification tool? Does the fact that advertising can cause behavioral changes bother you?
  4. Do you possess vices for which you wish you could undergo Ludovico's Technique? Would you do so if offered the chance?

Chew on This

Forcing Alex to undergo the Reclamation Treatment is just one out of the many ways the Government manipulates its citizens to ensure stability in the State.

Alex is forced to endure Ludovico's Technique, which employs the principles of associative learning, whereby a person's behavior is modified through prolonged manipulation of her normal responses to select stimuli. In this day and age, Ludovico's Technique would be considered torture, or at least the unethical treatment of criminals.

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