The thoughts and actions of Alex in the novel, A Clockwork Orange are both alike and different from the character Jack in Lord of he Flies. Alex a young man at the age of fifteen is a bane on society. Rape, violence, and Beethoven are his main joys. Jack is a choirboy on a deserted island. Jack’s world, before arrival on the island, consisted of a “ voluntary adherence to a pragmatic pact of nonagression…which passes for civilization, but maintained only through fear”(Whissen 140). Once the fear of objection from society is taken away so is the pact of nonviolence and the civilized being reverts to savage barbarism.
This evil only takes place when all his restrictions were removed. Alex is the hoodlum that has a love for violence and rape. He wages rampages in the night throughout his city. Once apprehended Alex is subjected to a series of treatments that make him incapable of violence, and rape. Alex and Jack are both sadistic leaders of there own groups. Jack is the head of the hunters. Alex has a band of “droogs” which are friends and enemies. Society plays an important part in both of their lives.
It is ironic that Alex starts as a savage and Jack as a civilized human being, But when their society’s and surroundings affect them each of them becomes what the other was. Alex becomes unable to commit evil and Jack assumes leadership of a savage group that commits acts of brutality. Alex and his “droogs” set the town ablaze by committing horrific acts of violence. He loves doing what his society says is wrong. During one of their night rides, Alex and his droogs, ripped out an old man’s teeth. Then to show real malice crunched them under his boot. If that was not enough they then treated the old man to a knuckle sandwich (Burgess 7).
Torturing old people is just one of there outrageous escapades. Another incident is when Alex and his droogs broke into this couples house. After beating up the husband he turned to his wife. “O my brother while I got untrussed and got ready for plunge. Plunging, I could slooshy cries of agony and this writer bleeding veck that Georgie and Pete held on to nearly got loose”(Burgess 23). He thought as he violated this man’s wife. He has no remorse or even knowledge that what he is doing is wrong. Jack on the hand is he leader of the choirboys. He is your average boy.
After landing on the island he is still in charge of the rest of the choirboys. The boys are very respectful toward Jack and look up to him as a soldier would look up to a general. He is a self-centered boy. For instance when he nominated himself to be act as chief “ ‘ I ought to be chief’ said Jack with simple arrogance ‘ because I’m chapter chorister and head boy. I can sing a C sharp”(Golding 22). The transformation of Alex begins after his capture. Jack’s begins with his slaughter of a pig. When these metamorphoses occur their characters types change. “Alex is a leader in a bad place, of bad people doing bad things”(Alex’s Adventure).
Alex’s droogs betrayed him and turned him into the authorities. Learning of the possibility to shorten his sentence, Alex volunteers for the “Ludovico Technique, a treatment for curing violence. The Technique involves injecting Alex with a serum that makes him sick to his stomach while forcing him to watch films of ultra-violence. It conditions him against anything morally repugnant”(url http://wwwmembers). Now Alex is forced to refrain from his evil ways. Whenever he attempts to view of commit an act, which the doctors have programmed to think is wrong he feels intense sickness.
The feeling of illness is so intense it is paralyzing. Now he is unable to do evil. “…Alex also loses his one redeeming feature, a fondness for Beethoven. Jack’s change begins in the heat of the hunt. Jack and his some of his fellow choirboys, armed with spears, set off into the interior jungle. Searching for wild pigs, the boys tap into their savage instincts. Jack enters savagery with the bloodshed of a hog. “Jack makes the psychological break when he baptizes himself with the blood of a slaughtered pig”(Cliff Notes 65). This moment is when Jack is reborn as a brutal monster.
An insurrection soon ensues. Jack and his hunters form their own party on castle rock. Their actions now include sacrifice and barbaric rituals. One for example occurred around the campfire. “ A great log had been dragged into the center of the lawn and Jack, painted and garlanded sat there like an idol”(Golding 149). Jack then started a war dance around the fire. Recreating the hunt, they chased one of the boys around the fire. All of them were brandishing their spears as they screamed “ Kill the Beast! Cut his Throat! Spill his Blood”(Golding 153).
As one can see both of them experience a through a change. Alex is changed into a helpless being unable to commit violence, and Jack is changed into a sadistic beast. Another similarity between Alex and Jack is they are both involved in a mutiny. After breaking into an old woman’s house and having a confrontation Alex tried to escape. Alex is hit in the face with a bottle of milk. “ I’m blind, Bog bust and bleed you, grahzny bastards”(Burgess 65). The police easily apprehend him after he is betrayed. Alex’s droogs caused him to be sent to jail. Jack on the other hand started his revolution.
He proclaimed “ Who’s going to join my tribe…I gave you food…my hunters will protect you from the beast”(Golding 150). “His savage personality and ability to tell people what they want to hear allows him to overtake Ralph as chief”(Jack). Freedom is one experience that Jack and Alex participate. The difference is how that freedom affects them. The freedom that Alex experienced before he is “cured” is ability to commit crimes and for a time go unpunished. He is not burdened by anyone. Committing crimes and getting away unscathed is his “gift”. Jack is the leader of his community.
He did not have to answer to any authority figures. He is their authority figure. Alex while he experienced hid freedom was debilitated. He is a prisoner of his own sickness. “ He seems to be oppressed by his emotional sickness and perverseness… Alex is a slave to his supposed freedom, which is dictated by the feeling of the other people whose freedom he threatened”(Malafry). In the case of Jack “What they feel is a sense of freedom, freedom from restraint, from discipline from rules they never understood and that seemed be imposed only to keep them from enjoying whatever they wanted to enjoy.
Freedom for them as for many, is freedom from reason, therefore, freedom to indulge the instincts”(Whissen 143). This feeling is what Jack and the hunters were experiencing. They feel they are emancipated from all that held them back. Their cast in society was another difference between Alex and Jack. Alex was the pawn of his society. He is reduced to taking a suicide attempt after his treatment. After being conditioned to feel that severe illness, Alex is forced to listen to his once favorite Beethoven’s ninth symphony. Unable to stand the feeling of sickness Alex attempts to kill himself.
After this point in the story, Alex refers to society as the ‘wicked world’. His point of ultimate rebellion, saying ‘no more,’ and ‘I will not tolerate this any longer,’ is his suicide attempt. He seeks that final exit where he is no longer made subject of the cruelties of a ‘civilized’ and hostile society”(url http://www. members). The great question is was the cure worse than the condition. “Alex himself is the ‘clockwork orange’, in his brain washed state the equivalent of a mechanical imitation of a living thing. Ultimately …the inability to choose between good and evil becomes the greatest evil of all”(Grun 98).
Jack controls his society. His sovereign power over the island allows him to “bark” a command and have it obeyed with no questions asked. For example when he ordered the hunters to capture Samneric. “ ‘I said grab them’ The painted group moved round Samneric nervously and unhandily… ‘Tie them up’ ‘See they do what I want”(Golding 179). It is ironic that Jack controls his society and Alex is controlled by his society In conclusion Alex and Jack had their similarities and differences. But the main likeness was under the correct conditions they were both evil.
Jack was suppressing his “inner Alex” only to be set free after reaching the island. Alex was the horrible person under normal conditions. I believe I could never be the kind of person Alex was. I think anyone, if put in the correct position, could become like Jack. And I close with the immortal words of William Golding “ When Golding saw the ecstasy on the faces of his fellow sailors in the North Atlantic as they returned the fire of the enemy or launched an attack he felt the shock of recognition that the beast was within us all, just waiting to break through the fragile veneer we call civilization”(Whissen 141).