The Comparison of Two Individuals Human Mind: A Clockwork Orange and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
The human brain is compiled of many distinct areas, ranging from the forebrain, midbrain, and hindbrain. If we go deeper, we enter the human mind where all one’s emotions, consciousness, and thoughts reside. Sigmund Freud’s theory of psychoanalysis emphasizes on the fact that the human psyche is developed of three distinct components: the id, ego, and superego. The complexity of these three components goes into depth where each plays a key role in one’s psyche and thus develops one’s personality. However, there are certain aspects in life which can alter these states resulting in a changed personality.
In the novels, A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgees, and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, by Hunter S. Thompson, Freud’s theory is present as the abuse of substances potentially results in the immoral actions and behaviour, and most importantly, isolates them from reality. This is shown through the characters Alex Delarge shadowing his evil conscience with his urge for violence and Raoul Duke abusing stimulants to avoid his failure during his journey to finding the state with the American Dream.
The id consists of one’s desires and consists of one’s incapability to control themselves as they dream about what they desire disregarding the thought of any possible consequence they would face prior to the action. Alex is a teen and his id consists of exploring new substances from the Korova Milk bar. Alex goes from a peaceful person to a barbaric person when he leaves the milk bar as he views everyone as weaker foes and he believes he can harm anyone without them fighting back. When Alex and his gang decide to show their dominance to a weak and defenceless homeless man for his newspaper, they physically assault the poor man to the extent where he loses consciousness. From the viewpoint of the homeless man, he tells Alex that his life does not matter to him regardless and wishes for his own death, “go on, do me in, you bastard cowards, I don’t want to live anyway, not in a stinking world like this one. Only one of you can understand my pain, that one. You!…Don’t go to that milk bar again you beast!” (Burgess, 12). This quote shows how vigorous Alex is for his desires. Such a mindset would be very effective in the new generation of technology. There is a vast difference in fighting a man who can fight back and fighting a man who is helpless who has done nothing wrong to one. The gang also resides on Alex’s wishes, but since Alex has crossed the line and beat up a helpless man, Dim self-motivates himself that he should leave the gang. However, Dim is an important person for Alex as his loss of connection with the gang and immoral actions are what cause Alex to go back to Korova Milk bar and abuse more drugs since he has nothing to focus on in life but them. Ultimately, if Dim leaves the gang, Alex will go completely crazy and turn into a psychopathic killer. There is no school in the futuristic England, or incredibly few educated citizens attend it, which is why Alex is surprised when he sees a man walking with books in his hand. All of Alex’s insane and immoral actions go back to the initiation of these thoughts which are triggered when he goes to the milk bar. The abuse of such addictive drugs at such a young age, where his psyche is not even completely developed, foreshadow the likely insane being he will become in the future.
Raoul Duke is different from Alex since he is older and has lived the life that Alex is living. However, his childhood and Alex’s were quite different. The author, Hunter S. Thompson has subjected his personal life into Raoul, therefore Raoul’s father dies when he is young and therefore he works hard to become successful, which he succeeds in. Currently Raoul and his attorney are in their anal stage in the five psychosexual stages of their life. Just like the author, Raoul is subjected to intaking highly addictive stimulants and being an alcoholic and this leads to the destruction and altering of their personality. For instance, prior to them taking a couple of doses of these stimulants, they go to a restaurant. Duke suddenly shows a mood swing to the waitress when he yells, “‘Get over here you maiden! Hurry up and give me the goddamn menu so I can get food and leave. Don’t you know I’m on an important journey right now?’ The waitress shamefully came and gave the menu to Duke and the attorney sat there waiting for him to order” (Thompson 120). The constant abuse of drugs stimulates the tolerance in one’s brain which resolves the brain to not always be happy. Duke is addicted to such euphoric drugs that his dopamine binding receptors are probably shut down by 50%. This causes him to have sudden mood swings and outrages portrayed in the quote. Unlike Alex, Duke does not take these drugs for his own amusement, but he does it to isolate him from reality. On this quest for the American Dream state, Raoul still remains an anti-hero which does nothing but give him outrage. To resolve his addiction, we can connect him to the author, Hunter S. Thompson since he is importing his past into Raoul. None of the states he has been to have shown to follow the American Dream which is giving everyone an equal opportunity to become successful. In the time era popular of drugs and alcohol abuse, there was a simple solution for Thompson’s misery following his unaccomplished id as a child (loss of father at a young age). Ultimately, we truly see how the abuse of a certain substance can impact one’s id and isolate them from reality, thus causing them to show immoral behaviour.
The ego develops from the id and ensures that the impulses of the id can be expressed in a manner acceptable in the real world. The part of the mind which balances one’s instincts with reality. When Alex is arrested, the government takes away his freedom including the access to Korova Milk bar which has a super psychological and physiological effect on him. Knowing that he is arrested and in custody of the government, his ego is aware that he has guidelines and rules to follow otherwise there will be consequences. For instance, Alex, before he is arrested, one of his favourite hobbies included listening to music. Prior to his arrest, Alex has received withdrawal symptoms. These involve resisting the activities, substances, or things he once did. Therefore, when the music plays, he goes crazy. He says, “there I was, me who had loved music so much, crawling off the bed and going oh oh oh to myself, and then bang bang banging on the wall screeching stop, stop it, turn it off! But it went on and it seemed to be like louder. So I crashed at the wall till my knuckles were all red” (Burgess, 115). Due to Alex’s initial response towards the music playing, Alex expresses withdrawal symptoms which gives a sign that he was addicted. His mind is now trying to comprehend with the music that he once listened to for relaxation and which he was passionate for. We also experience some withdrawal symptoms of his addiction with music when it plays on the radio. His id tries to listen to it, but his ego simply does not correlate since he has been prevented from his priority addictions such as the drugs and his friends. Which is why he proceeds to smash the radio countless times. Alex experiences regrets now that his id is limited to certain extents. He is aware of what he is allowed to which set the tone for him. The clockwork symbolizes Alex prior to his arrest; the government controls Alex and his actions, if he does anything wrong, he will be likely in severe danger. His withdrawal symptoms trigger the ego to develop more hatred towards the government since they are responsible for restricting his freedom.
Raoul’s ego is filled with nothing but despair due to the fact that he has not accomplished his goal on this journey to Las Vegas. When him and his attorney finally arrive to Vegas after two days, Raoul is in disbelief but at the same time he not surprised. His ego balanced his id which desires of only finding the state with the American Dream motto, and reality; there is no state that follows the American Dream motto. The first thing Raoul notices about Vegas is the abundance of casinos. Raoul tells his attorney, “‘Damn. This whole road trip just to see a bunch of f**king lights and tall a** buildings with these stupid cops standing around here acting like they are doing their job. Give me another bottle, I’m not having any of this’” (Thompson 145). Raoul is completely disgusted by the fact that no state in America wishes the equal opportunity for every citizen to have a chance to become successful. His desire in finding the perfect state is losing more hope than ever. At this point, Raoul’s ego tells him to drink another beer and smoke another cigarette in order to release some stress and isolate himself from reality. Raoul’s addiction to these substances not only increase his chances for cancer, but furthermore, they will alter his personality. We see glimpses of the results of his altered personality when he talks to the waitress in an immoral and unethical manner. Raoul is committed to finding the perfect state and is convinced that there has to be once, since he did become rich from nothing. Which is why the concept of richness correlates to one’s ego. Raoul implemented the concept of power through the money and wealth in Las Vegas. When one has plenty of money to do what ever they would like, it increases their ego since more aspects of life become realistic, such as dreams that one once has a child. This leads to the lust of more money and increases the egotistical level of one resulting in immoral behaviours towards the people financially under them. Therefore, Raoul refers to Las Vegas as the place for businessmen, since they have the most knowledge in making tons of money. Overall, we witness how the abuse of certain substance allows Raoul to isolate himself from the real world and indulge the euphoria his brain develops.
Finally, the id plays a powerful concept as one’s desires are the only thing the id consists of. Before Alex is arrested and becomes a clockwork orange of the government, life is good for him. He does whatever his id desires of, disregarding the fact if the action is moral or immoral. For instance, we talked about Alex and his addiction to euphoric drugs at the Korova Milk bar. This addiction causes Alex to become a maniac who psychologically feels powerful like he is a king or an emperor. When Alex rapes woman, she is in pain and screams at him to stop, yet he does not stop because that is what his id desires of. Meanwhile Dim is outside waiting for Alex and he is aware that he is doing an immoral act not stopping him, but the fear of Alex prevents him from doing anything. When Alex is done with the woman he comes outside and tells Dim, “she like tried to lever herself up from the floor, so I gave her a malenky fair kick in the litso, and she didn’t like that crying Waaaaah, and you could viddy her veiny mottled litso going purplewurple where I’d landed the old noga” (Burgess, 48). Alex has crossed the limits vigorously and without showing any regret. Not only did Alex just sexually assault a woman and destroy her possessions, but also have her husband watch truly manifests his insanity and what he is capable of. According to Freud’s theory, “The id consists of the sex life instinct – Eros and the aggressive instinct – Thanatos” (McLeod, 2007). All these three key features of the id – sex life instinct, Eros, and the aggressive instinct were present here as once Alex had a mindset of performing certain actions on her and no one could stop him. Prior to his actions, what he says to Dim ultimately shows his insanity as he thinks of it as a normal action and shows no regrets. Alex enjoys raping the women as he receives pleasure from it, thus he does not think about the lady he is raping and how much damage he is causing not to only her, but to her husband as well who is watching the whole incident. Ultimately, all of Alex’s actions are what he cannot control due to the drugs. He is so triggered to the euphoric feeling that he does whatever it takes to feel that way again, thus showing his immoral side without any regrets.
Raoul is characterized by Thompson to be an anti-hero in the end. After working so hard from his childhood, his psyche now being completely developed, he is in his genital stage which means his ego and superego have been completely developed. However, drawbacks due occur because growing up Raoul does not have a father, which could be a loss of valuable life lesson teachings he could have gotten from his father. Near the end of the novel, when his journey comes to an end, even though he did not attain what he went to search for, his id desires for isolation from reality. He is in distress that he could not find the state with an American Dream motto. He regrets everything he did on the come up to success when he says, “‘Why bother with newspapers, if this is all they offer? Agnew was right. The press is a gang of cruel faggots. Journalism is not a profession or a trade. It is a cheap catch-all for f***offs and misfits’” (Thompson 200). Coming from poverty and becoming wealthy shows and searching for the American Dream shows that not only was Raoul blessed by the lord, but the loss of his father did not lead him into the immoral direction, even though many acts he does are immoral. Raoul uses his addiction of extreme stimulants like cocaine, LSD, meth, etc. to feel euphoric and isolate himself from the real world and take him to a psychological place where everything is perfect and where he can find the American Dream. At this point in his life, he is done with everything including his career and his quest. He is just focused on being happy, however, due to the failure in his journey, he needs the assistance of the hardcore stimulants. His ego cannot reside with reality, thus his id desires for the euphoric feeling which will take him into his perfect world.
The novels, A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgees, and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, by Hunter S. Thompson ultimately prove that the human mind in correlation with addictive substances can not only alter one’s mind but results in immoral actions and separation from reality. We witness the destruction of Alex’s id through the use of psychedelics in Korova Milk bar and also see how the abuse of stimulants such as LSD alter Raoul’s id and resolve him into becoming a different person.
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