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Anthony Burgess A Clockwork Orange In A Clockwork Orange author Anthony Burgess deals with the matter of depriving a criminal the ability to make a moral choice This topic of behavioral conditioning was presented by the psychologist BF Skinner in the 1950s and caused uproar in society striking a chord with Burgess In Skinners essay Beyond Freedom and Dignity he shows his solutions for changing a criminals behavior with positive reinforcement Professor Gerald Smith of the University of Utah took it a step further than Skinner Smith proposed an implanted device that measured the adrenaline level in convicts His assumption was that the adrenaline level would rise from the excitement received while committing a crime If the adrenaline levels became high an electrical pulse would send signals to a receiver which the parole officer could read Inadvertently the device failed to distinguish the difference between committing a crime and the adrenaline rush involved with lovemaking Smiths r easoning was that the convict loses nothing since he is a prisoner already without freedom Burgess explains I began to see red and felt I had to write the book Alleger 172 The absurdity of this behavioral conditioning process was one of the main reasons for Burgess to write his novel His visit to Russia only confirmed his mission He witnessed Russian gangs called stilyagi which were a major nuisance for Russian cities Even in Burgess hometown in England the streets were overrun with young hoodlums which referred to themselves teddy boys Burgess decided to set his story in the future when gangs have complete rule of the night The main character Alex a ruthless villain has a fine ear for classical music especially Beethoven This trait humanizes him and even makes him likable to the reader Burgess strong musical background seems to be the cause of his avid taste in music His father Joseph Wilson was a classically trained pianist and his mother Elizabeth Burgess Wilson
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