In the first four chapters we are given a shocking introduction into the life of Alex. In these first four chapters we see Alex beat up a teacher and a old drunk, rape a young woman and beat up her husband, rob a shop, steal a car and perhaps the most disturbing we see him commit child abuse. At this time I think it is very important for us to remember one thing: Alex is fifteen-years-old. Yet we do not find this out until the end of book one. By delaying this Burgess makes us think that Alex is much older than FIFTEEN and therefore when we our told we begin to realise how dreadful his crimes were.
Yet despite these committing all these crime Alex has no fear of the “millicents” or any other figure of authoirty. In the first four chapters Burgess gives us a preview into the life of his anti-hero and shows him in his world of ultra-violence, rape and Beethoven. When Alex is committing these horrifying crimes, he does it very casually and doesn’t seem to think about the consequences or about how the crime could make that person’s LIFE a living hell. A prime example of how looks down on his crimes, is after he has beaten up the teacher and stripped him, he thinks “We hadn’t done that much” and refuses to make any ” appy polly loggies”.
This casual view on his crimes is witnessed again when he is robbing the shop and he is standing over the now naked Mother Slouse and he thinks “I wondered should I or should I not, but that was for latter in the evening”. This extremely disturbing view on rape is one that would send shivers down the back of any moral human being. Another example of how he looks down on his crimes is after they had beaten up the writer and raped his wife, Alex thinks “But they’d live. ” Although when he left they “were not really there” meaning they were unconscious.
This is evidence that Alex is completely at home in his world of ultra-violence, rape and Beethoven. He is a King in his own sub-culture and his moral universe has no connection whatsoever with that of the average human being. By Alex behaving like this Burgess is trying to make us hate him more and more, but still we find a side of Alex that brings us close to him and makes us feel like a friend of his. Although we have already experienced Alex talking about rape, when he actually commits it, it is a totally different experience.
As soon as Alex knocks on the door of the “malenky” cottage, and the “young pretty devotchka” answered the door, I think we all knew what would happen. After Alex had ripped up the writer’s book, Dim had done his “fisty work” on him, Alex then decides, “Now for the other veshch, Bog help us all”. So not only does Alex talk as if it was a normal everyday event, he also has the arrogance to ask God for help in committing one of the most disturbing crimes on earth. But just raping the woman is not enough for Alex, he makes the now bleeding husband watch him and his “droogs” rape his wife.
I think this is most crucial scene in the first four chapters because this shows us Burgess’s anti-hero in his element, before his hubris in which we see Alex at his lowest point. Whether it is their hugely more moral view on life or their “wrinkled old lighters” or “old rookers” or the fact that they are “a thousand years old”, either way Alex does not like older people. From the “old baboochkas” in the bar to his very own “pee and em” Alex has no respect what so ever for the elder generation and, indeed, not one adult in the book is shown on a positive light.
We as readers have no one we can use as an accusing moral yardstick against which Alex can be measured. Alex refuses even to show his own parents a bit of respect. We see this after he has come in from night of rape and ultra-violence to listen to some Odysseus Choerilos. He tells us of his “pee and em” next door and how they had learnt not to knock on the wall. Why, because he “had taught them”. Despite the disrespectful attitude towards his parents, I think any adolescent would have some envy for Alex for this control his has over his “pee and em”.
I would consider this a point that would make Alex more likeable to the younger generation. Alex mostly gives his victims a false sense of security before he attacks them. Firstly with the teacher, because he begins to question him about the books he is reading and the teacher begins to think that they are innocent, although still wary, then Alex and his “droogs” strike the attack with the accusation that the books were porn, despite the titles “Elementary Crystallography” and “The Miracle of the Snowflake”.
The next example of this is when he knocks at the cottage on the edge of town, he convinces the very hesitant young women that his friend has been taken ill and only needs a glass of water. Then after she has gone in to get the drink, obviously in a false sense of security because she left the door open, Alex and his “droogs” burst into the house. Finally, when Alex is in the record shop and he spots the two young “ptitsas”, and he invites them to come with “uncle” and they can play their discs on his player.
After treating them to something to eat, again putting them into a false sense of security, he takes them back to his flat and after the walk up the stairs Alex cures their thirst with a Scocthman each. In the words of Alex, “What was actually done that afternoon there is no need to describe”, but that is not because he is in any way ashamed of it. Alex considers himself to be the outright leader of his gang. He confirms this place when George and Dim challenge his authority, but fail and both are handed a beating by Alex.
Alex tries to prove his leadership when they try to break into the flat. Once Alex is in the flat he decides to go alone after the rebellion by George and Dim earlier to try and prove a point. But this is probably the first time we see “Alexander the Large” showing signs that he is not unconquerable, after he has struggled against the old woman and her army of cats and is scared off by the sound of the “millicents”, he is met at the door by his “droogs” who hand Alex a unexpected surprise that involved a bike chain.
Then his “droogs” leave Alex lying outside the flat ready for the “millicents”. We see that Alex and his “droogs” are not in one bit affected by their actions, I think this epitomizes the cacotopia where they live and a good example of how scared people are is seen on page thirty-eight when Alex is talking to his dad, he gives him some money for his mum and dad to go out, ” We daren’t go out much, the streets being what they are. Young hooligans and so on”.
Little do they know that their very own son is one of these young hooligans. But, as one of as Alex’s “brothers” who by the end of the first book feel like we have been dragged into his world, could we be described as one of these hooligans?? Not only do we feel sorry for the “young” and “innocent” Alex in prison, despite all the appalling crimes that he has committed, but also at some times we find his sickly humour quite witty!!! This criminal side of Alex is a very confusing side that, without doubt, we all think is insane.
It is like we, as readers, are nearly as nai?? ve as Alex’s “pee and em”. In the book we our told of every crime Alex commits, unlike his “pee and em”, yet we still find a side of Alex to like!! So, how is it that Burgess makes us find a character that has made people in his town afraid to leave their houses at night, rapes women, abuses children, beats up older people likeable? How does he change our views from a “filthy cowardly hooligan” to our very own “handsome young narrator”?
He does this in many ways: Firstly, right from page one Alex refers to us as his “brothers”, by bridging the gap between reader and narrator, he brings us much closer to him which obviously makes it harder for us to dislike him. Also by this developing this relationship, Burgess makes us feel like one of Alex’s friends, and at sometimes it is like we are Alex’s only friends. As I have already mentioned Alex has a very witty sense of humour.
We see the witty sense of humour on the first page when he is saying they already had enough money for the night, and he ends with, “But, as they say, money isn’t everything”, in other words Alex feels you have got to have fun. Then later on after at the start of the third chapter we see a bit more of a crude humour, after they had raped the women and were heading back to town they saw that the fuel needle had collapsed Alex goes on, “like our own ha ha ha needles had”.
Another good example is when he is in his bedroom with the two girls and they were playing with him jumping around, and then he jumps on them for another purpose and they give in to the weird desires of “Alexander the Large”. So although this is a very disturbing scene Alex manages to make his brothers crack a smile. But during the last two chapters is when, I think, our relationship with Alex really develops. Seeing our “handsome young narrator” get beaten up by the police and P. R.
Deltoid spitting in his face, makes us in some strange way feel sorry Alex, despite all the horrifying crimes Alex has committed. Yet, although we do feel sorry for him, we do have to point out that Alex doesn’t think he deserves to treated like this, regardless of all the crimes he has committed. We see this many times in the last two chapters, firstly at the very end of chapter six after Alex has been taken in by the “millicents”, and then Alex realises that he “was going to get nothing like fair play from these stinky grahzny bratchnies.
” So for the first time in the play we see Alex start to think about fair play, and its no surprise that it is fair play for him that he wants. The next point is when the “millicents” are having a cup of “chai” and Alex in total shock thinks “They didn’t even offer me any. ” Even though Alex is in prison for these horrific crimes, he still thinks the “millicents” will offer him a cup of “chai”. We see many new developments of Alex in these last two chapters. For the first time in the book we see Alex apologise, not for all his crimes, but for being sick when the “millicents” are beating him up.
We also see a lot more “innocent” Alex, who is dumping all the blame for his murder on his “droogs”, and for the first time in the book we see Alex starting to act like he is fifteen, and the elders around him start to treat him like he is fifteen: “Everybody knows little Alex and his droogs………. little innocent Alex. ” But for me the most surprising event in the chapter is that we see Alex cry, “I could open my glazlids a malenky bit and viddy like through all tears” Although I totally understand Alex crying, but after the first four chapters it still comes as a surprise.
The next point is a very interesting one. When Alex is on the bunk in the prison, he begins to fall asleep and drifts into a better world of “flowers and trees… goat with a man’s litso playing away on a like flute……… rose like the sun Ludwig van himself”, surely this is not the same boy who early on described his ideal world of “vecks and ptitsas……… screaming for mercy……… grinding my boot into their litso”, how can a boy go from one extreme to another in a matter of days. This is a clear sign that prison is already starting to conquer “Alexander the Large”.