A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange Summary and Analysis of Part One, Chapters 5-7

Part One, Chapter 5 Summary:

Alex wakes up at night and tells his parents, who have come home, that he is feeling better and ready to work this evening, since they believe that is how he spends his nights. His father politely inquires into what he does, but Alex is evasive. His father relates a dream he had last night about Alex's being beaten by the kind of boys he used to be friends with before Corrective School. Alex reassures him he will be all right and gives him all his money.

Alex leaves the flat and finds his gang waiting for him near the entrance. They claim they were worried they had offended him, but they also sarcastically refer to his ordering them around. When Alex asserts his authority, they introduce a new, more democratic way of running things. They also want to pull off bigger robberies, and are prepared for one tonight. Alex is against the idea, but he acquiesces.

Georgie wants to drink first. On the way over, Alex hears some Beethoven and it inspires him to pull his razor on Georgie, who uses his knife in defense. Alex slashes Georgie, who drops his knife, and Dim attacks Alex with his chain. Alex slashes him deeply and reasserts his leadership. He wraps one of his handkerchiefs around Dim's bleeding wrist and they go to the same bar as last night. Pete buys drinks for the old women from before. Alex presses Georgie for his plan for the evening, which is to go to a rich woman's home in Oldtown. They leave.


Alex's justification to his father about the nature of his "work" - that since Alex never hassles him for money, his father should not inquire into his business - also confirms the problematic idea that free will should always be upheld. Since Alex does not bother his father for the profits of work (money), his father should allow Alex the freedom to do what he wants and maintain his privacy. However, his father does not know that Alex's money is "ill-gotten." Therefore, by not infringing upon Alex's free will and privacy, he allows Alex's evil acts to continue. While this non-infringement associatively violates Mill's "harm principle" (see analysis of Part One, Chapter 4) since his father allows Alex to continue harming others, it is still necessary, Burgess would maintain.

The vocabulary of the book also reflects ideas of free will. Deltoid's habit of ending sentences with "Yes?" - which Alex notes he has picked up - seems almost like an invitation to exercise free will. Deltoid is asking for affirmation, just as the "'eh'" from the opening lines of each part - "'What's it going to be then, eh?'" - is an offer for Alex to make his own choices. However, when Alex uses it with his friends, his tone of "yes?" is more commanding; he does not want his friends to exercise as much free will as he does.

Nadsat more saliently demonstrates these ideas. For instance, we learn from the sentence "Pete had given old Dim the soviet not to uncoil the oozy" that "soviet" means "order." Ironically, the boys had just expressed their desire for the gang to become more democratic, yet orders are still given. Moreover, the word "soviet" alludes to Soviet Communism and the rigid hierarchies of power that corrupt system had behind its façade of equality. While Burgess criticizes capitalism as well, often through the mouth of Alex, it is clear he despises the oppression of Communism far more.

The weapons of each character are representative. Alex uses a razor, a tool whose conventional use is for the face and neck, appropriate for someone whose mental and speaking powers are superior to the rest of the gangs'. Dim uses a brutal chain as one might expect from such a lumbering tank. Georgie wields a knife, a more conventional weapon but one appropriate for a betrayal, which it appears he is mounting. Pete, notably, refrains from fighting here - perhaps he is the most mature.

Part One, Chapter 6 Summary:

The gang travels to the rich neighborhood of Oldtown. They reach the house they plan to rob. They see an old woman inside pouring milk for her cats. Alex rings the door and gives his usual routine through the mail-slot about his friend needing help. The woman is resistant, and Alex pretends to leave. He has Dim lift him up to the second-floor window.

Alex climbs through and goes downstairs to greet the woman and her many cats. Alex slips on a milk saucer and she uses the opportunity to hit him, but he regains his composure and knocks her down. The cats attack him as he goes for a bust of Beethoven. When the woman scratches his face, he knocks her on the head with a silver statue he had previously taken.

Hearing sirens and realizing the woman may have called the police after he first came to the door, Alex quickly opens the front door to warn his friends to leave. Dim is standing there; the other two are running away. Dim tells Alex he can meet the police when they come, then hits Alex's eyes with his chain. Alex cannot see, and the police arrive immediately and arrest him. He tells them to get his traitorous friends, but realizes it will do no good. The police drive him away, happy to have bagged Alex, a well-known criminal. An ambulance drives the other way for the old woman. The cops continue to hurt Alex as they arrive at the police station.


Alex's inability to see at the end of the chapter ironically foreshadows Ludovico's Technique in Part Two, in which his eyes are kept open. However, here it symbolizes his blindness in the whole chapter. He does not recognize the warning signs that his friends are planning to betray him, and he commits two noticeable mistakes that lead to his being caught. First, he believes that he overhears the woman talking insanely to her cats rather than to the police. Second, he goes for the bust of Beethoven and allows the cats and the woman to attack him. The greater irony here is that his love for music now victimizes him violently, as opposed to allowing him to victimize others. This, too, foreshadows Part Two.

Burgess continues to expose the corruptness of the state Alex lives in. The police are just as fond of violence as he is, and they happily beat their victim in retribution for his own crimes.

Milk has previously been used as a symbol of youth's sexual immaturity; they lap it up childishly with drugs at the Korova Milkbar, and Alex has a somewhat obsessive relationship with women's breasts. The old woman here provides milk for her cats. In a sense, this episode plays out as revenge for Alex's sexualized violence. The old woman, completely devoid of any sexuality, attacks him with her army of cats, conventionally feminine creatures.

Part One, Chapter 7 Summary:

Alex is taken to an office with four policemen at the jail. He hears the police beating the prisoners in nearby cells. When Alex refuses to speak without a lawyer, the top policeman punches him in the stomach. Alex retaliates with a kick to the shin, which provokes a beating at the hands of all the policemen until he vomits. Deltoid comes in and promises to be at his trial tomorrow. Before he leaves, he unexpectedly spits in Alex's face.

Alex gives a long statement of his violent past for the police. He is taken to a cell where he fends off the other criminals. He finally falls asleep and dreams of being in a big field and listening to Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. He is woken and taken to the top policeman again, whose stern demeanor makes Alex realizes the old woman he beat has died.


The top policeman justifies the brutal treatment of Alex by saying "'Violence makes violenceŠHe resisted his lawful arrest.'" However, Alex has proven that violence can spring out of the self and not the environment. The police act much the same way; they have just as violent tendencies as Alex and, being powered by the state, their tendency toward corruption is greater.

Deltoid, too, has some shadows under his seemingly sympathetic exterior. While his spitting in Alex's face appears to be out of angry disappointment, perhaps he finally feels free to harm Alex in a way he could not before.

Alex's dream, in which he mixes up the words to Beethoven's Ninth with words relating to his recent beatings, foreshadows the mind-control experiments in Part Two. Even the beatings have seeped into Alex's brain and made music less pleasurable for him - an effect that will soon become much more prominent.