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Though they share a name, F. Alexander and Alex are quite
different from each other. While Alex is an intuitive creature who
makes decisions based on impulse, F. Alexander is an “intelligent
type bookman type” who behaves according to abstract concepts, which
he ponders from the safety of his country home, far away from the
city streets with which he seems so concerned. F. Alexander thinks
in broad, theoretical terms, and has trouble focusing on specifics. When
Alex begs for mercy after being beaten by the police, F. Alexander
pities him not as a suffering boy, but as an abstract “victim of the
modern age.” Similarly, when Alex asks him how he expects to improve
Alex’s life through the exploitation of his victim status, F. Alexander
can’t provide an answer. F. Alexander claims to want to help people like Alex,
but he remains unconcerned with Alex as a particular, individual
F. Alexander’s failure to embrace actual human reality
can be read as a criticism of liberalist ideologies, which Burgess
has criticized for being committed to improving the lot of mankind
at the expense of man himself. F. Alexander’s belief that man is
“a creature of growth and capable of sweetness” is a noble one,
especially because he has experienced first-hand the kind of evil
men are capable of. However, his readiness to use Alex, also a creature
of growth and capable of sweetness, as a “thing” with which to wage
war against the State reveals a certain degree of hypocrisy.
Ace your assignments with our guide to A Clockwork Orange!