Study Guide

A Clockwork Orange Transformation

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Transformation isn't always as dramatic as teenagers turning into Power Rangers or Matthew McConaughey turning into a serious actor. Sometimes it's more subtle…like changing attitude or behavior.

Transformation, or more accurately reformation, is a factor always under consideration when it comes to the criminal justice system. When people are sentenced for committing a crime, there's a delicate balance between punishment and reformation. Ideally, criminals are supposed to be reformed and become productive members of society, instead of destructive ones. A Clockwork Orange explores this balance and critiques the length some go to in order to change not just prisoners, but human nature itself.

Questions About Transformation

  1. How does Alex change from the beginning of the movie until the end? Would you say he is reformed?
  2. What are different reformation strategies talked about in the film? Compare the chaplain's ideas about reformation vs. the prison system vs. the Ludovico technique.
  3. Does the Ludovico technique remind you of any real-life process?
  4. Is the society in the film more concerned with punishing criminals or reforming them? (Or both together?)

Chew on This

Alex only pretends to be reformed to get out of prison early, but pretending to be reformed and actually reforming are the same in the eyes of the law.

Religion and the Ludovico technique, although the chaplain wants to think they are a different, are not. Both instill a fear in people to convince them to the change. They don't necessarily change who the person is.

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