A Clockwork Orange

by: Anthony Burgess

Important Quotations Explained

5. And nor would he be able to stop his own son, brothers. And so it would itty on to like the end of the world, round and round and round, like some bolshy gigantic like chelloveck, like old Bog Himself (by courtesy of Korova Milkbar) turning and turning and turning a vonny grahzny orange in his gigantic rookers.

This passage appears in the novel’s final chapter and is taken from Alex’s extended inner monologue about his imagined son. Pondering whether his future son will take heed of any fatherly advice Alex will pass on to him, Alex is certain that his son will follow in his footsteps and pay no mind to well-intentioned parental lessons, and that his son’s son will do the same. This understanding is part of the realization that Alex has about the inescapable patterns of life and, more personally, the connection between violence and immaturity. Alex imagines “old Bog Himself” spinning the world around in circles, literally holding these things on a cyclical path. To Alex, these patterns of life are inevitable, and thus he sees his own mischief as a natural and necessary part of youth, and as such, a necessary part of growing up.

Having made some sense of his odious behavior by contextualizing within a larger progress toward maturity, Alex realizes that he has had to sacrifice for this understanding. This conforms to the Christian conception of original sin, which holds that man is innately predisposed toward evil, and unshackles himself only through suffering and divine Grace. Alex considers his own suffering sufficient to move forward with his life, which in a sense, makes him the “true Christian” that he could never be as Brodsky’s mechanistic creation.

By ending the novel with this passage, Burgess wraps the book up structurally as well as thematically. Alex’s triple repetition of the words “round” and “turning” echoes the three parts of his story, and having thus completed his three-part pattern, Alex seems ready to move on. Alex signals this by changing the very manner in which he addresses the reader. Following this passage, Alex begins to use the present tense, as he makes plans to start looking for the mother of his son. In this way, the above passage both calls attention to and departs from the novel’s formal structure.