Open Collections

UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Violence : the devil within us examined in four contemporary British novels : Anthony Burgess, "A clockwork… Davis, Sarah Gasquoine 1981

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata


831-UBC_1981_A8 D39_5.pdf [ 3.93MB ]
JSON: 831-1.0095080.json
JSON-LD: 831-1.0095080-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 831-1.0095080-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 831-1.0095080-rdf.json
Turtle: 831-1.0095080-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 831-1.0095080-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 831-1.0095080-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

VIOLENCE: THE DEVIL WITHIN US EXAMINED IN FOUR CONTEMPORARY BRITISH NOVELS: ANTHONY BURGESS, A CLOCKWORK ORANGE FLANN O'BRIEN, THE THIRD POLICEMAN IRIS MURDOCH, THE. TIME OF THE ANGELS MURIEL SPARK, THE BALLAD OF PECKHAM RYE  by SARAH GASQUOINE DAVIS . A . ( H o n s . ) , The University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of English)  We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA May 1981 (c) Sarah Gasquoine Davis, 1981  In p r e s e n t i n g  this thesis i n p a r t i a l  f u l f i l m e n t o f the  requirements f o r an advanced degree a t the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree t h a t  the L i b r a r y s h a l l make  it  and study.  f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r reference  I further  agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e copying o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted by the head o f my department o r by h i s o r her r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . understood t h a t  copying o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s  f o r f i n a n c i a l gain  s h a l l n o t be allowed without my  permission.  Department o f  English.  The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h 2075 Wesbrook P l a c e Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5 Date  April  2 8  >  Iti s  1 9 8 1  Columbia  written  ii  ABSTRACT  This thesis examines violence as a thematic concern in four contemporary B r i t i s h novels: Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange, Flann O'Brien's The Third Policeman, I r i s Murdoch's The Time of the Angels and Muriel Spark's The Ballad of Peckham Rye. Violence pervades these novels, affecting every character and s i t u a t i o n , and i t  is revealed in elements of fantasy, grotesqueness  and surrealism in language, theme and character. A v i t a l link between the novels is that each possesses a demonic character (or characters) whose demonism is symbolic of the darker side of man's nature.  These novelists portray l i f e as being a  continual struggle—this struggle is the choice between the opposing forces of good and e v i l ; and from this struggle violence erupts. These demonic figures represent the dark and violent choice of e v i l . An examination of the characters of the demonic figures in these novels reveals that each exists in a strange or curious sort of hell or inverted world.  Alex, in A Clockwork Orange, creates a hell  for others which, in turn, sends him to a hell created by s o c i e t y . Violence is the means used by both s i d e s , thus neither Alex nor society appears t o t a l l y innocent nor t o t a l l y g u i l t y .  The nameless Narrator  in  The Third Policeman is l i t e r a l l y dead and in h e l l - - a hell he has created by his own earthly actions.  However, he is not alone in his h e l l ,  for his accomplice in murder and the peculiar policemen are also oddly affected.  In The Time of the Angels, the characters' hell is confined  to a fog-bound rectory in which they are v i r t u a l l y  trapped.  Leo,  ii i  however, seems to possess a fey quality which enables him to somehow evade the others' predicament. counterpart,  In contrast, C a r e l , his aging  has despaired and is doomed.  In The Ballad of Peckham Rye,  Dougal Douglas purposely creates a h e l l i s h situation for a chosen group of people; his reason is psychological manipulation—the  result  is violence. The focal point of the novels seems to l i e in the.obsession shared'by these demonic figures—obsession with s e l f and s e l f gratification.  Essentially, it  is the obsession of these protagonists  which warp and influence the nightmare worlds which a l l the characters inhabit, worlds in which violence and destruction seem i n e v i t a b l e . This violence is a r e f l e c t i o n of the growing violence of our modern, technological society in which psychopathy (comparable to that practiced by these demonic figures) is on the wane.  is on the increase and humanism  iv  TABLE OF CONTENTS  Page  Abstract Introduction  ii ...........  „..........  Section One, The Demonic Figure  ..  Section Two, The Obsession with Self  1  .......  5  .......  Section Three, The "Inverted" World Section Four, Language  16 37  .  60  Conclusion  66  Endnotes  71  Bibliography  0  ...  77  Introduction V i o l e n c e i s a t i m e l e s s and u n i v e r s a l phenomenon.  The  seeds  o f the v i o l e n t a c t , w h e t h e r p h y s i c a l o r p s y c h i c a l , l i e w i t h i n a l l mankind.  No-one i s exempt, f o r v i o l e n c e . . . d e m o n s t r a t e s the ' r e a l ' n a t u r e o f man, h i s fundamental d i s o r d e r l i n e s s and w i l l t o d e s t r u c t i o n , h i s h a t r e d o f c o n s t r a i n t s , h i s r e s e n t m e n t o f i d e a s and i d e a l s and a l l the o t h e r a r t i f i c i a l c o n s t r u c t i o n s . Hence t h e a r t i s t who d e a l s h o n e s t l y w i t h v i o l e n c e becomes a k i n d o f n o s e - r u b b e r o r m i r r o r - h o l d e r , someone r u b b i n g t h e s p e c t a t o r ' s nose i n t h e d i s a g r e e a b l e , and h o l d i n g up a m i r r o r i n which he can c o n t e m p l a t e the e s s e n t i a l f i l t h i n e s s , n a s t i n e s s , and b e a s t l i n e s s o f mankind. . .1  F r a s e r ' s r a t h e r p e s s i m i s t i c view o f mankind seems t o h o l d t r u e i n the l i g h t of contemporary B r i t i s h f i c t i o n .  The n o v e l s o f B u r g e s s , Murdoch,  Spark and O'Nolan ( F l a n n O ' B r i e n ) emphasize t h a t v i o l e n c e i s an i n e s c a p a b l e a s p e c t o f the human c o n d i t i o n and t h a t i t seems t o be an i n e v i t a b l e p r o d u c t o f an e v e r - e x i s t i n g b i - p o l a r i s m : t h e s t r u g g l e f o r supremacy, o r a t l e a s t s t a b i l i t y , between the o p p o s i n g and e v i l and t h e i r s u b o r d i n a t e s : t r u t h and f a n t a s y *  f o r c e s o f good  l o v e and power, o r d e r and  disorder,  T h i s s t r u g g l e , which i s f o c u s e d on the c o n f l i c t  between s e l f h o o d and s e l f l e s s n e s s , g e n e r a t e s  v i o l e n c e b e c a u s e the  d e s i r e s o r " i n s t i n c t s " t h a t '"people d o n ' t l i k e t o g r a t i f y e x c e p t  with  the h e l p o f i n g e n i o u s d e v i c e s , d i s g u i s e s and a r a t h e r c h i l d i s h hypocrisy,  . .are t h e most d e e p l y r o o t e d i n t h e human p s y c h e . ' "  These  2  i n s t i n c t s are ' " f e a r . .  othe  t a s t e f o r b l o o d and  death."'  T h e r e are numerous ways o f p r e s e n t i n g v i o l e n c e i n the but t o use v i o l e n c e as a t h e m a t i c t e c h n i q u e  novel,  i t must be made p a l a t a b l e  o r a c c e p t a b l e t o the r e a d e r : mere excess o f b r u t e  aggression—people  t o r t u r e d o r k i l l e d — w i l l e i t h e r o n l y r e p e l the r e a d e r w i t h o u t  engrossing  him i n the n o v e l ' s p u r p o s e , o r the v i o l e n c e w i l l seem l e s s r e a l and the work w i l l have l e s s impacto  To a v o i d t h i s e f f e c t , the n o v e l i s t s  thus  2„  make use of such l i t e r a r y devices as the distancing and commingled elements of grotesqueness, fantasy and surrealism (the S u r r e a l i s t movement, in f a c t , "drew on the powerful stimulus of v i o l e n c e " ) . The use of d i s t i n c t i v e language is also an important f a c t o r .  These  devices create unusual and d i s t i n c t i v e settings or worlds in which the characters are permitted to carry out the most h o r r i f i c a c t s - - y e t the reader remains unalienated and amused throughout. Fraser also points out that "in a culture as starved of physicality as ours, the enduring appeal of a good many violent works is not just that they are violent but that they re-immerse us  4 vicariously in physical a c t i o n . "  He adds that "it also a fact that  other people have been able to commit these violences and to ignore the traditional  safeguards of innocence, and ignorance, and helplessness.  One has the sensation of a chasm having opened in front of one's f e e t .  5 And the immediate reaction is to demand, How could they?"  One possible  answer, of course, is perhaps we a l l could i f our unconscious desires were so tapped--as Dougal Douglas taps the unconscious l i f e of Peckham Rye bringing death and destruction to the surface.  The  S u r r e a l i s t s , in f a c t , note that "the unconscious does not usually bring us good news, and that what we repress i s hatred more often than love.  . . . "  A good example of this phenomenon is Mr. Druce in  The Ballad of Peckham Rye: his unconscious hatreds lead him to murder. Violence is not confined to the contemporary B r i t i s h novel, of course, i t spans a l l ages and a l l n a t i o n a l i t i e s .  The significance  of violence in the contemporary B r i t i s h novel l i e s in its presentation, in the techniques used to convey i t s presence, and in i t s  3.  thematic use: i t  is shown to be a  way of repelling loneliness and of  clinging to the existence of one's s e l f in an absurd world.  With a  r i s e in the knowledge of man's psychological make-up, the progression of modern society towards a mechanistic existence, and the decline in values and traditional  morality, the stage is set for a rather cold-  blooded presentation of violence.  The more boisterous and warm-blooded  presentation of violence of preceding eras has been altered to accommodate these modernistic changes in human l i f e . The rise of the novel in the eighteenth century included violence at i t s inception.  Novelists such as Sterne, Smollett, Matthew  Lewis, Swift and others, a l l employed violence, in p a r t i c u l a r grotesque or fantasy violence.  This c h a r a c t e r i s t i c was not lost in the  nineteenth century either—Dickens also included a considerable amount of grotesque violence in his novels,,  The reliance of the contemporary  novel on the mingling of dream/nightmare and r e a l i t y is a s u r r e a l i s t i c technique ("the  real contains the surreal"^); but in the novel this  technique had i t s origins in Lewis's The Monk.  Andre''Breton discusses  The Monk enthusiastically in his Manifesto of Surrealism: Long before the author [Lewis] has freed his main characters from a l l temporal r e s t r a i n t s , one feels them ready to act with an unprecedented pride. This passion for eternity with which they are constantly s t i r r e d lends an unforgettable intensity to their torments, and to mine. I mean that this book, from beginning to end, and in the purest way imaginable, exercises an exalting effect only upon that part of the mind which aspires to leave the earth and that, stripped of an i n s i g n i f i c a n t part of i t s p l o t , which belongs to the period in which i t was w r i t t e n , i t constitutes a paragon of precision and innocent grandeur. 8 Lewis's prideful characters are echoed in the contemporary novels discussed in this t h e s i s .  The "passion for eternity" Breton considers  to be dominating the lives of characters such as Ambrosio and Matilda in The Monk, is c l e a r l y repeated, for example, in The Third Policeman, in which the Narrator clings desperately to existence by denying r e a l i t y and l i v i n g in a world constructed by his imagination. The absurdity of the world in which the Narrator finds himself resembles Breton's description of l i f e :  "Life is absurd not in the  nauseating sense of the word but so far as 'absurd' designates the forces that outdistance the narrow limits of logic and gravitate towards 9 the wondrous."  The world of The Third Policeman is also "derived, in  part from the ideas of the C e l t i c other-world [where] Time has no meaning"^ and a day can be synonymous with a hundred years.  Furthermore  "de Selby is modelled on Des Esseintes, hero of Huysman's A Rebours (Against Nature) and possibly on SIawkenbergius,  the savant whose works  are the l i f e l o n g obsession of Walter Shandy in Sterne's Tristram Shandy." One aspect that novels as diverse in period as The Monk and the contemporary novels discussed here have in common is their use of the grotesque.  The grotesque is violent in i t s own right:  it  is the  "violent clash of opposites, and hence [ i s ] an appropriate expression of 12 the problematical nature of existence."  The grotesque is the device  of bringing two incongruous elements together—laughter  and horror--to  e l i c i t an emotional response. Furthermore The grotesque is the expression of the estranged or alienated world, i . e . the familiar world is seen from a perspective which suddenly renders i t strange (and, presumably, this strangeness may be either comic or t e r r i f y i n g or both). The grotesque i s a game with the absurd in the sense that the grotesque a r t i s t p l a y s , h a l f - l a u g h i n g l y , h a l f - h o r r i f i e d , with the deep absurdities of existence. The grotesque i s an attempt to control and exorcise . . .the demonic elements in the world. 13  This device is c l e a r l y in evidence in the novels of Burgess, Murdoch, Spark and 0'Nolan; much of the disorientating quality of these novels arises from the authors' inclusion of elements of the grotesque and in the importance of the "demonic" figures of Alex, Leo, C a r e l , Dougal and the Narrator of The Third Policeman. Each of the four novels discussed contains this  thematic  element: the presence of a demonic figure whose actions—wittingly  or  u n w i t t i n g l y — e l i c i t tensions and bring the deeply hidden desires of the other characters to the surface. explosion of violent action.  The result is havoc and an  In turn, violence acts as a catalyst in  the novels—it cuts through the layers of false morality and hypocrisy to expose the true nature of man, his "disorderliness and wi to destruction," and his puniness in the face of the absurdity of the uni verse. i  The Demonic Figure Perhaps the most s i g n i f i c a n t cause of violence in these  novels is the desire or quest for power.  In Murdoch's opinion, love  and power are the opposite sides of the c o i n , the archetypal opposing forces within man.  One of the overriding characteristics of the  demonic figures in these novels is t h e i r pride and their desire for power.  This desire has e f f e c t i v e l y  crippled the minds or s p i r i t s of  these men, and the theme of crippling—both of the mind and the body— a central one, not only to these novels, but to the genre as a whole: Modern novels frequently emphasize the complexity of man. They show that although man may well be a victim of society or some unreasonable wound, he is as much a victim of his own character and so is not e n t i r e l y an innocent victim. . . It is perhaps arbitrary to deal separately with characters who function primarily as v i c t i m i z e r s , but there are enough  6o  of these individuals who cause pain--and enough of them are found in i n f l u e n t i a l roles.--to merit their c l a s s i f i c a t i o n into a subgroup of those maimed figures who i n h a b i t , and create, waste lands. That such creatures should be deformed--that they should, in p a r t i c u l a r , l i m p - - i s an ancient notion probably derived from two sources: deformity from the Platonic concept that a man's character is reflected in his appearance; limping, from the fact that the Arch Enemy of man, Satan (Hebrew f o r "the adversary"), has cloven hooves which he can disguise but not e n t i r e l y conceal should he take human shape. 14 The demonic figures of these novels c l e a r l y f i t " c l a s s i f i c a t i o n " of limping "maimed" creatures who are  into Hays'  representative  of the powers of e v i l or the darkness which l i e s within mankind.  In  The Ballad of Peckham Rye, Dougal Douglas is certainly meant to represent, i f not Satan himself, at least a demonic representation of e v i l powers.  Likewise, O'Nolan indicates that the Narrator of  The Third Policeman represents e v i l , for he has both a crippled .body and a crippled mind--the l a t t e r deformed by his obsession with de Selby. Alex in A Clockwork Orange and Leo and Carel in The Time of the Angels are also c r i p p l e d , but they exhibit s o c i a l and s p i r i t u a l for their bodies are perfect and i n t a c t .  Rather, Alex, Leo and Carel  are Luciferian creatures—outwardly beautiful  angels who have,  become dark, proud creatures obsessed with g r a t i f i c a t i o n above a l l e l s e .  deformation  Carel seems almost a p a r a l l e l  inwardly,  of the s e l f  to the Miltonic  conception of Satan—his power and magnetism cause him to d i s b e l i e v e , to want ultimate power for himself; as a result he is cast into h e l l , but a hell of total emptiness.  Carel's "downfall can be attributed  to  his fascination with the dark side of German existentialism" especially "Nietzsche and Heidegger, about whom Murdoch has said 'Heidegger i s 15 Lucifer in person.'"  7,  Like Murdoch, Hays emphasizes the power of love in vanquishing e v i l  and the cloying absorption of selfhood.  True love  is s e l f l e s s love, the abnegation of s e l f with regard to the other; however, to "consider oneself f i r s t ,  to compound this disregard of  others by denying t h e i r humanity and d i g n i t y , is to foster the world's sterility  by one's own demonism."  16  This brand of "demonism" is c l e a r l y  evident in these four novels in which those who "seek l i f e , purpose have to contend with those who pervert,  love, or  corrupt, defame, and  destroy"; in other words, to contend with those who commit violence, with "enemies who bear the mark of the E n e m y . T h e s e marks include 1  o  the "diabolical attributes of lameness [and] red h a i r . " The use of a demonic figure in each novel is for the purpose of personifying the e v i l hidden within men, and to allow the struggle between good and e v i l to be waged in v i s i b l e form.  Thus the  quality  of e v i l is given force by being characterized; and i t s force is emphasized by the dreamlike or f a n t a s t i c settings created in which the characters struggle to e x i s t . On a physical l e v e l , Dougal Douglas in The Ballad of Peckham Rye and the nameless Narrator of The Third Policeman are the most obviously Satanic.  Spark goes to great lengths to present Dougal as  being, i f not Satan himself, at least a powerful and the force of e v i l . exudes a "dark g l o w . "  representative  of chaos  His name i s Gaelic for "dark stranger," and he 19  Dougal f i t s neatly into Hays' schema of the  Satanic e n t i t y : Dougal is deformed or misshapen. vision with a deformed shoulder"(po 17).  He i s a "man of  He continually asks people to  feel the "bumps" that are hidden in his short curly h a i r - - a  Pan-like  8.  touch.  Dougal is also a snapeshifter: "Dougal changed his shape and  became a professor"(p. 16)--a sure sign of the d e v i l , for the devil can a l t e r his shape at w i l l .  In this respect, Dougal can be compared  to Policeman Fox who can also change his shape; Fox "began putting his immense body through the tiny opening."  Dougal also d i s l i k e s crossing  the r i v e r , a common t r a i t for those in the service of e v i l and f o r whom the purity of running water is anathema as i t  is symbolic of the  purity of the uncorrupted human s p i r i t . Dougal's body, "already highly crooked by nature"(p. an outward manifestation of his twisted inner nature. of his crookedness, Dougal is extremely attractive he uses his powers to advantage.  is  However, in spite  to other people, and  Indeed, i f Satan is considered to be  the personification of our dark, inner d e s i r e s , this extreme is not hard to believe.  15),  attraction  Our desires are extremely a t t r a c t i v e - - i t is hard  not to give in to the urgent requests of the s e l f .  Thus demonic  characters, such as the f i v e presented in these novels, would be extremely attractive  and charming.  Those that are r e p e l l e d - - ! i k e  Dixie,  for instance--tend to be so because these demonic characters are adept at understanding the hidden motives of others and then exposing these t r a i t s , much to the mortification  of the possessors.  Dougal brings excitement to the otherwise drab lives of the inhabitants of Peckham Rye; he accomplishes ,this by divining peoples' inner thoughts and desires and then manipulating people into acting them out.  The result tends to be violence in one form or another.  says "There's a dirty swine in every man"(p. 7).  Humphrey  The "swine" is this  dark, unprincipled side of human nature—the side that Dougal taps with skill.  9.  Spark i s e x p l i c i t about Dougal's function The B a l l a d of Peckham Rye.  in  Dougal and Merle Coverdale walk i n t o the  graveyard and Dougal s i t s down on "an i n s i g n i f i c a n t headstone [and] pose[es] l i k e an a n g e l - d e v i l . . . " ( p . 30).  Dougal i s L u c i f e r , the  " a n g e l - d e v i l " ; the " i n s i g n i f i c a n t headstone" reveals man's unimportance, his absurdity, i n the face of the forces of good and e v i l .  Dougal i s  also likened to "a succubus whose mouth i s i t s eyes"(p<> 28); in this capacity he can be compared to Leo in The Time of the Angels: "Leo was leaning forward now and was studying Marcus with a fascinated almost delighted expectancy.  With a sense of being experimented o n , Marcus  c o n t r o l l e d his gaze.  There was something f a m i l i a r and somehow deadly 21  about the s i t u a t i o n .  Leo knew him too w e l l . "  Like Dougal, Leo plays  with people, controls them l i k e puppets; he knows what t h e i r  reaction  w i l l be and he loves to manoeuver them i n t o f u l f i l l i n g his behavioural preconceptions of t h e i r a c t i o n s . Manipulating people i s the D e v i l ' s power: he offers a choice which i s no choice, and Muriel finds t h i s out with Leo.  Like most of us,  Muriel thinks to use the " d e v i l " (or the unconscious) as a tool f o r her purposes; however, she discovers that the dark force i s r e a l l y using her. Muriel erroneously considers that what a t t r a c t s her to Leo i s his . . .rather immoral. . . f r i s k i n e s s , that cheerful w i l l i n g n e s s to behave badly which had had such an ugly issue in the unspeakable t h e f t and in the scene with Eugene which she had overheard. She had thought of Leo as potent as a s o r t of pure elemental f o r c e . It had been indeed some sense of the ' p u r i t y ' of that force which had led her so r e a d i l y to conceive of him as an instrument. A creature so simpleheartedly e g o t i s t i c could hot be a menace. This was not the kind of thing which Muriel feared. It was the kind of thing which she f l a t t e r e d h e r s e l f she could c o n t r o l . Yet now she f e l t both shocked and muddled, disgusted by Leo's behaviour and yet unable r e s o l u t e l y to judge him, as i f she h e r s e l f had already become in some way his accomplice (p. 123).  lOo  Muriel feels ambivalent towards Leo, both "disgusted by him, and yet strangely attracted to him.  Marcus also feels this way about Leo.  When Leo leaves him after trying to extort money from him, Marcus feels both excited and "disgusted."  Leo's paradoxical a b i l i t y  to  simultaneously attract and repel people is a r e f l e c t i o n of our base nature and our overlying moral sense. Leo's intense beauty also seems Luciferian in i t s perfection. He desires to be a "prince"(p. 98) and his physical description is princely indeed: he is described as "glossy," "luminous," "gold," "light,"  (p. 99) and so on.  He "glides"(p. 9) rather than walks and his  hair is a "reddish-gold"(p. 99).  Leo is an ethereal, angelic creature,  but he is a f a l l e n angel--a continuous dark stream of l i e s pours from his mouth; he is concerned only with manipulating people—which he does to ward o f f his feeling of angst. great cruelty—as is Care!. e v i l : the bright, beautiful  He i s capable of great charm and  The two men represent the two faces of face which ensnares people, and the reverse:  the dark, anguished, hopeless face of the damned soul which has descended into the nothingness of hell and realises the horror of an eternity separated from God.  Power and violence become the only means  of assuring a sense of existence in the midst of such chaos. Alex is also a Luciferian f i g u r e . and handsome.  He is charming,  intelligent,  His name means "helper of men" and he helps men straight  into destruction.  But Alex's major flaw is p r i d e , and in this respect  his name seems to be a reference to Alexander the Great—like s o l d i e r , Alex is f u l l  the  of pride in his leadership capacity over his  22 "droogs"; he feels that Dim must "learn his place";  he feels  j u s t i f i e d in punching Dim in the face when Dim mocks the singer in the  llo  Korova Milkbar, because, in Alex's opinion, "It had done wrong to"(p.  was [him] r e a l l y Dim  26).  Alex is our "humble narrator"(p.  65), and as such should gain  our complete sympathy, especially in view of his insouciant charm and his continual inclusion of us into his tale ("0 my brothers"[p. However, his overweening Satanic pride and his a l l - t o o - r e a l  5]).  delight in  violence f o r violence's sake, tend to distance us from him toward the end of the novel; and i t his pride which ultimately  leads to his f a l l .  Alex becomes a rather grotesque f i g u r e , for his apparently reasonable and amusing character is incongruous with both his obvious love of power and the subject matter of his speech: "lashings of ultra-violence which is a real kick"(p.  19).  Alex's pride becomes i r o n i c a l when he desires to pull the feathers out of a peacock's t a i l because i t  is too "boastful"(p.  or when he castigates the government for being "very boastful"(p.  137), 122).  For Alex (as is proper in one only concerned with gratifying s e l f ) can neither comprehend that he p a r a l l e l s the peacock's q u a l i t i e s in his dress and manner, nor that he p a r a l l e l s the government in i t s symbolic attempt to divest him of his own t a i l feathers in an e f f o r t to render him t r u l y "humble."  However, i t i s a consistent pattern throughout the  novel that the most inhuman creatures wear clothes that are the "heighth of fashion"(p. 97), a n a r c i s s i s t i c preoccupation with the t r i v i a l  and  s u p e r f i c i a l which c l e a r l y reveals the hollowness of t h e i r beings. Alex is c a l l e d a "toad"(p. 51) and a "bedbug"(p. 51) by the woman he accidently murders. familiar--it  A toad is frequently cited as a witches'  is also ( l i k e Joe in The Third Policeman) a poisonous,  slimy creature, as Alex e s s e n t i a l l y i s .  His victim t e l l s him to "keep  12.  [his] distance" or she w i l l "be forced to strike"(p.  51) him.  Alex  incites normally passive people to violence just as Dougal does. brand of evil  His  ignites opposing forces and violence i s the outcome.  In The Ballad of Peckham Rye, Dougal s p e c i f i c a l l y refers  to  himself as the d e v i l , although with the exception of Mr. Weedin, no-one believes him.  This scepticism reinforces the view that people only  believe what they want to believe--we and misconceptions of l i f e ,  are blinded by our preconceptions  and the result of l i v i n g in a shuttered  world is tragedy and violence.  For example, while being shown Dougal's  "bumps," Humphrey asks Dougal i f he is supposed to be the d e v i l . r e p l i e s , "No oh, no.  Dougal  I'm only supposed to be one of the wicked s p i r i t s  that wander through the world for the ruin of souls"(p. 77).  Dougal i s  t e l l i n g the truth; he is explaining what he is and what he does, but Humphrey does not believe him.  Weedin asks Merle i f she has ever  "looked at [Dougal's] eyes"(p. 82):  the eyes are the window of the s o u l ,  but Dougal, embodying the blackness of man, is s o u l l e s s , thus only emptiness w i l l be reflected in his eyes. Like Dougal, the Narrator of The Third Policeman seems to represent the demonic aspect of man, an aspect created by an obsession with s e l f .  According to Hays, one of the most obvious signs of the  satanic element in l i t e r a t u r e is the "limping hero," and the f i t s neatly  Narrator  into this d e f i n i t i o n on account of his wooden l e f t leg:  "part of me is wood and has no l i f e in i t him that is l i f e l e s s is his s p i r i t ,  at a l l " ( p . 41).  his emotions.  The "part of"  He is as wooden as  his l e g . The Narrator is not alone in his wooden left-leggedness, however, f o r Martin Finnucane also has a wooden l e f t leg and he leads a  13.  band o f o t h e r such s i m i l a r l y a f f l i c t e d men t o r e s c u e t h e N a r r a t o r from the s c a f f o l d .  The N a r r a t o r ' s w o r l d , o r h e l l , i s p e o p l e d w i t h both t h e s e  v i o l e n t , o n e - l e g g e d men and t h e m a l e f i c p o l i c e m e n , a l l o f whom a r e as base as he. M a r t i n Finnucane i s a l s o a murderer, and i n view o f t h i s f a c t and h i s p h y s i c a l s i m i l a r i t y t o t h e N a r r a t o r , he appears t o be an e x t e r n a l m a n i f e s t a t i o n o f t h e N a r r a t o r ' s psyche.  C e r t a i n l y , he i s  v i o l e n t enough; he t e l l s t h e N a r r a t o r t h a t i f he i s i n t r o u b l e , Finnucane " w i l l come w i t h a l l t h e o n e - l e g g e d men and r i p t h e b e l l i e s " (p. 4 2 ) . Perhaps t h e most h o r r i f y i n g f a c e t o f t h e demonic c r e a t u r e s s u r r o u n d i n g t h e N a r r a t o r i s t h a t they a r e h i s own c r e a t i o n s , f o r h i s h e l l i s a h e l l o f t h e s e l f ; he i s t r a p p e d f o r e v e r w i t h i n a w o r l d bounded by h i s l a s t moments i n Mathers' house--a w o r l d c r e a t e d by h i s own i m a g i n a t i o n o r psyche.  He p e r s o n i f i e s t h e s e l f o r ego; he i s s e l f gone  mad, bounding t h r o u g h a w o r l d o f i t s own making.  The N a r r a t o r ' s w o r l d  o r b i t s around t h e b l a c k c a s h box, thus i t i s a m e c h a n i s t i c , a b s u r d , v i o l e n t and t o t a l l y h o r r i f y i n g w o r l d . That M a r t i n Finnucane i s a c l o n e o f t h e N a r r a t o r , i s f u r t h e r emphasized  by S e r g e a n t P l u c k u s i n g t h e N a r r a t o r as a s c a p e g o a t f o r  F i n n u c a n e ' s murder o f t h e dream Mathers.  The N a r r a t o r p r o t e s t s h i s  i n n o c e n c e ; b u t , o f c o u r s e , he i s t h e m u r d e r e r - - o f t h e r e a l  Mathers--so  t h i s w o r l d has a s o r t o f p e r v e r t e d j u s t i c e : t h e N a r r a t o r s u f f e r s i n f e a r f o r h i s ' l i f e ' f o r a murder he t h i n k s he d i d n o t do, c o n v e n i e n t l y f o r g e t t i n g t h a t he has n o t p a i d , i n e a r t h l y t e r m s , f o r t h e murder he d i d do. The f a c t t h a t i t i s t h e N a r r a t o r ' s l e f t l e g t h a t i s wooden  14.  is also s i g n i f i c a n t , for his entire world is made up of left-hand turns. When Pluck shows the Narrator the "road to eternity"(p.  108) on  MacCruiskeen's c e i l i n g "map," the road to take is the f i r s t road.  The Narrator argues that no road exists there, but Pluck  disagrees: " i t The  left-hand  is a very old road. . .but there is no signpost"(p.  108).  left-hand path--the crooked p a t h - - i s the way to h e l l , the oldest  road of a l l for the s e l f to travel  upon; there is no "signpost" because  everyone finds t h e i r own way there. Pluck's c r i t i c i s m of Policeman Fox is that Fox "has an opinion that there is a turn to the right down the road and l i k e l y that is what he is a f t e r , he thinks the best way to find i t is to die and get all  the leftness out of his blood.  I do not believe that there is a  right-hand road. . .as you are aware the right is much more t r i c k y than the  l e f t , you would be surprised at a l l the right p i t f a l l s there are.  We are only at the beginning of our knowledge of the r i g h t , there i s nothing more deceptive to the unwary"(p.  132).  To "die and get a l l  the  leftness" out of one's blood is to advocate the total extinction of self—only by so doing can one revoke the power of e v i l , an e v i l shown in the Narrator to be his obsession with s e l f .  However, such an act  would require a mighty courage, a commodity that the Narrator—like most humans—sorely lacks.  For the "right-hand" path—the pursuit of good  and truth—is_ i n f i n i t e l y more "tricky" than the easy road of fantasy and comfortable i l l u s i o n . Another indication of the Narrator's demonic nature is his namelessness.  He i s without a name throughout the entire novel, and to  be obsessed with s e l f and yet not to possess the uniqueness of  15.  i n d i v i d u a l i t y which is bestowed on one by one's name, is paradoxical in the extreme.  Like the Narrator,  Satan might be considered s e l f out of  c o n t r o l , and he is sometimes termed the nameless one; y e t , p a r a l l e l i n g the Narrator,  again  Satan simultaneously possesses many names.  Throughout the novel the Narrator the Narrator might have had ( i f  (and Joe) proffer a variety of names  he could remember), thus emphasizing  both his demonic and his universal  nature.  The Narrator has peopled his surreal world with nothing but demons, and they seem to represent his unconscious desires f o r power and violent action (he l i t e r a l l y scares John Divney to death, a violent and h o r r i b l e , yet f i t t i n g end to an unscrupulous character).  The  inhabitants of his world are strange, dreamlike, inhuman f i g u r e s . MacCruiskeen, for example, is described as being "on wires and worked with steam"(p.  66);  Pluck taps his head and i t makes a "booming hollow  sound"(p. 133) as i f i t were empty,,  These policemen seem l i k e  mechanical clockwork creatures, but their demonism is shown by such details as Pluck's face which sports "a violent red moustache"(p. for red hair symbolizes compatriots of the d e v i l .  48);  A l s o , Policeman Fox  blocks the left-hand side of the window in Mathers' house which shows that he is in league with the powers of darkness.  These policemen are  grotesque f i g u r e s , in their hugeness and beefiness they seem both ridiculous and h o r r i f i c and they exude a menacing and yet comic atmosphere or presence.  Thus the policemen f i t  into P h i l i p Thomson's  view of the grotesque: the grotesque "will cover. . .among other things, the co-presence of the laughable and something which is incompatible with the l a u g h a b l e " 0  23  But while the obsession with detail  and the  16.  size  of the policemen seems comic--at f i r s t — t h e i r  implacability shows  through and they become grotesque figures representative of dark fears hidden within our unconscious thoughts. Joe, too, is described as a demonic figure in the fashion.  traditional  The Narrator starts imagining that Joe is in the bed next to  him; the thought repels him because Joe's "diminutive body would be horrible to the human touch--scaly or slimy l i k e an eel"(p.  101).  If  Joe is his s o u l , then Joe would be "scaly" and "horrible" because the Narrator,  by his actions, has forgone the right to have anything e l s e .  He has chosen to become an evil being — and as such is invaded by a "scaly" s o u l . i i The Obsession with S e l f Man holds the opposing cosmic forces within himself: within each man is the capacity for good or e v i l , love or power, truth or fantasy.  These forces continually war for possession of the s p i r i t ,  and each of these novelists explores the degree of choice man has available to him in this respect.  This war between good and evil  generates s p i r i t u a l violence, and i t manifests i t s e l f externally  in the  high incidence of physical violence in the novels. These novelists concentrate on the battleground of the s e l f , and the s e l f ' s choice of evil  rather than good: "In the moral l i f e the  24 enemy is the fat relentless ego."  The result of t h i s choice i s  regression into the world of fantasy and this coincides with Freud's view of mankind: Freud takes a thoroughly pessimistic view of human nature. He sees the psyche as an egocentric system of quasimechanical energy, largely determined by i t s own individual h i s t o r y , whose natural attachments are sexual,  17.  ambiguous, and hard to control„ Introspection reveals only the deep tissue of ambivalent motive, and fantasy is a stronger force than reason. Objectivity and unselfishness are not natural to human beings. 25 "Objectivity and unselfishness" are certainly "not natural" to the protagonists of the four novels discussed herein.  They are a l l  completely dominated by t h e i r "fat relentless" egos, their obsession with s e l f , and i t  is this relentless obsession with pursuit of s e l f i s h  aims that generates violence. Like Murdoch, Burgess views the universe as being dominated by two f o r c e s , but he is less certain of t h e i r actual nature or of t h e i r strength.  Burgess "shares the Manichean b e l i e f that there i s a  perpetual c o n f l i c t between two forces that dominates the a f f a i r s of the universe, and whether the forces can be accurately labelled 'good' and 'evil'  is by no means c e r t a i n .  . . a l l that is certain is that the  opposed forces e x i s t , are in c o n f l i c t , and that earthly turmoils. .  .are 2  relatively trivial  a f f a i r s that merely ' f i g u r e  the great cosmic c l a s h . "  A l l four novelists attempt to examine this "cosmic clash" by presenting i t in more humanly accessible terms; this accounts f o r the devil figure who generates the c o n f l i c t with inevitably violent r e s u l t s . That none of the demonic figures seems entirely evil also brings t h e i r existence to a more human l e v e l .  Thus rather than appearing as some  overpowering s p i r i t u a l e n t i t y , they represent the evil within man--his darkness triumphant. Burgess also has his views on the function of God and the Devil in the universal order: "I are p o s s i b i l i t i e s , but i t  believe, i f you l i k e , that God and the Devil is not foreseeable, i t is not inevitable  that God should win over the D e v i l . "  2 7  Three of the novels I have  18.  examined c l e a r l y show Burgess's trend of thought--God, or 'good'--does not triumph over e v i l ; furthermore,  the struggle leaves death and  destruction in i t s wake which indicates the immense power of the force of e v i l .  As Murdoch points out, t r u t h , which is on the side of good,  i s unpalatable to human nature: "truth always hurts a bit and that is why we know so l i t t l e of i t " ( p . 215)„  Man prefers to cower amidst a  tissue of fantasies; this is an i l l u s i o n a r y mode of l i v i n g which has strong p o s s i b i l i t i e s f o r e v i l .  Thus e v i l has a strong chance of winning  the "cosmic c l a s h . " In contrast, O'Nolan does not seem to subscribe to the outlook of Murdoch and Burgess.  His protagonist is e v i l , a murderer.  crimes for s e l f - g r a t i f i c a t i o n  He commits  and to further his f a n t a s i e s , but as a  result he has to exist permanently in a h o r r i f i c world of f a n t a s i e s - - a ghastly world created e n t i r e l y  by his absorption with s e l f .  In  The Third Policeman e v i l seems to have been vanquished—the Narrator  is  punished in eternity f o r his inhuman use of violence. The "cosmic clash" i s fought out in a dreamlike s e t t i n g .  The  f u t u r i s t i c England of A Clockwork Orange, for example, is a s u r r e a l , nightmarish world in which people l i v e out their unconscious, innermost ideas and f a n t a s i e s , thus d i s t o r t i n g r e a l i t y and distorting the d i s t i n c t i o n s between good and e v i l .  Alex is a paradigm of his world.  He lives out his violent f a n t a s i e s , and his fantasies tend to be tinged or inspired by eroticism.  This eroticism adds a surreal note to Alex's  cruel and s a d i s t i c dreams: Like Sade, the Surrealists also understood eroticism to be the dynamic behind the most intransigent expressions of human s u b j e c t i v i t y : r e v o l t , h y s t e r i a , perversion and crime.  19.  Unleashed e r o t i c i s m , they conceded, might demand excess, blasphemy, subversion, the blood-letting of the s a d i s t i c cult. Feeding on i t s e l f might l e a d , ultimately. . .to dissociation of the personality and death. 28 Alex's key to his realm of fantasies is music.  He enjoys the  music of Beethoven, Bach, Mozart--music which is great a r t ; in this he diverges sharply from the musical tastes of his generation.  However,  Alex's love for music, instead of providing innocent j o y , enflames him with desire to commit the most atrocious a c t s . Alex "feel  It  is music which makes  l i k e Bog himself"(p. 35) and which transports him into a  fantasy realm of even greater heights of violence than he commits with his "droogs": Oh, b l i s s , b l i s s and heaven. I lay a l l nagoy to the c e i l i n g , my g u l l i v e r on my rookers on the p i l l o w , glazzies closed, rot open in b l i s s , slooshying the s l u i c e of lovely sounds. Oh, i t was gorgeousness and gorgeosity made f l e s h . The trombones crunched redgold under my bed, and behind my g u l l i v e r the trumpets three-wise silverflamed, and there by the door the timps r o l l i n g through my guts and out again crunched l i k e candy thunder. Oh, i t was wonder of wonders. And then, a bird of l i k e rarest spun heavenmetal, or l i k e s i l v e r y wine flowing in a spaceship, gravity a l l nonsense now, came the v i o l i n solo above a l l the other s t r i n g s , and those strings were l i k e a cage of s i l k round my bed. Then f l u t e and oboe bored, l i k e worms of platinum, into the thick thick toffee of gold and s i l v e r , I was in such b l i s s , my brothers. . .As I slooshied, my glazzies t i g h t shut, . .1 knew such lovely p i c t u r e s . There were vecks and p t i t s a s , both young and s t a r r y , lying on the ground screaming for mercy, and I was smecking a l l over my rot and grinding my boot in their l i t s o s . And there were devotchkas ripped and creeching against walls and I plunging l i k e a shlaga into them. . .(p. 29) A l e x ' s delight in the music i s truly awe-inspiring--the beauty of the music l i f t s  him to l y r i c a l heights of expression.  But from his " b l i s s  and heaven" emerge his darkly violent urges f o r domination—both sexual and s a d i s t i c .  Perversely, he pictures the glorious beauty of the music  accompanying the horror of his fantasy actions.  The music l i f t s and  20.  carries him through beauty into the blackness of his innermost being where he finds his own, s u r r e a l i s t i c , personal and perverse "heaven," where he lords i t as God--or rather Satan--in the f r i g h t f u l  horror of  his nethermost being--a nonpareil of violence. Alex's love for music does not only inspire the urge f o r violence, i t also makes him greedy, f o o l i s h l y s o .  When he breaks into  The Manse, he sees, during his confrontation with the i r a t e ,  cat-loving  owner, a bust of Beethoven which he immediately lusts a f t e r :  "but  i t t y i n g towards i t with my glazzies like f u l l  on i t and my greedy rookers  held out, I did not see the milk saucers on the f l o o r " ( p .  51); this  Alex's undoing and his doom: his greed blinds him to the danger.  is  He  trips over the cats' saucers and in the ensuing melee the woman attacks him quite v i c i o u s l y .  Infuriated, Alex "tolchoks" her harder than he  meant to and k i l l s her—all stone"(p. 52).  to "reach lovely Ludwig van in frowning  like  Love of music leads to his doom.  Alex likes music f o r the unholy visions i t  affords him, and  his greed for music, or his obsession with s e l f , inspire him to violence and murder.  However, Alex's music-inspired actions are contrary to the  Murdochian view of the effects of great art on mankind: "the appreciation of beauty in art or nature is not only. . „the easiest s p i r i t u a l exercise; i t good l i f e ,  since i t  seeing the r e a l . "  2 9  available  is also a completely adequate entry into.  .  is the checking of selfishness in the interest For A l e x , however, the " s p i r i t u a l  .the of  exercise" of  l i s t e n i n g to music is far removed from "checking" his "selfishness" in the "interest  of seeing the r e a l . "  On the wings of his love of music  he soars up to the pinnacles of brutal and s a d i s t i c fantasies where he conceives of himself as a deity.  At this moment he is blind to otherness;  21.  people exist only to serve his s a d i s t i c needs. Through his f a n t a s i e s , Alex reveals the power of the id which resides within each man and which has the desire to dominate the ego or man's rational being.  What is needed is r e s t r a i n t ,  a quality which is  sorely lacking in the demonic figures in these novels: they are e n t i r e l y dedicated to s e l f .  To be so concerned with s e l f is to be  c h i l d l i k e , for l i k e Alex, children have dark, brutal and aggressive phantasies that [are] truly h o r r i b l e , a r i s i n g naturally out of the hunger to e x i s t , and t h e i r need to survive. Human c u l t u r e , and the natural moral sense, are ways in which we humanize our phantasies and 'reform' them. . .when people resort to 'fun k i l l i n g s ' or s a d i s t i c murders, they may be acting out the primitive phantasies of early childhood. 30 It  i s this same obsession with s e l f that inspires the  in The Third Policeman to commit murder.  Narrator  As Alex lives in a devalued  world in which the b r i e f g r a t i f i c a t i o n of l u s t and power is paramount so does O'Nolan's Narrator l i v e in a world in which his obsession with the mad genius of de Selby is supreme.  The Narrator has not descended  to the conventional hell of f i r e and brimstone, instead his hell concocted from his own consciousness.  is  Although his body is dead, his  s p i r i t has been trapped by the strength of his s e l f i s h d e s i r e s , thus keeping him forever in their h o r r i f i c t o i l s : "Was. . .the world I knew merely the i n t e r i o r of the being whose inner voice I myself was"(p.  103).  Thus i t is that the Narrator cannot get away from Mathers, Mathers' house, or his desire for the black cash box: they are the last things he was conscious of before he was blown up.  They form the  nucleus of his h e l l , along with de Selby (the cause of his unspeakable a c t i o n s ) , Divney (his tempter in l i f e ) , and the peculiar  22.  policemen (who, as representatives  of "law and order" have control  over his existence). The Narrator  can be compared with Golding's Pincher Martin  and his immense, posthumous s p i r i t u a l for as long as possible.  struggle to hold on to  Like Pincher Martin, the Narrator  t e r r i f i e d of l e t t i n g r e a l i t y i n - - t h e r e a l i t y of death—for so his existence w i l l be terminated.  "life" is  i f he does  Even a hell as awful as the one  he has created for himself seems preferable  to death.  cannot dismiss his obsession with s e l f .  fact:  In  Consequently, he  structure and s t y l e . . .come to mirror a v i s i o n of i n f i n i t e recession which a p p a l l s , fascinates and amuses, resting as i t does on an ultimate assertion of unmitigated selfhood. The book's method is i t s theme: the dizzying indulgence in the abyss of selfhood (der selbe [of the s e l f ] ) , the regardless pursuit of omniscience (omnium). A narrator whose thoughts were 'never far from de S e l b y , ' that i s , one who likewise held that the 'usual processes of l i v i n g were i l l u s o r y ' and for whom he committed his f i r s t serious sin and his greatest s i n . . .ends counterfeiting i n f i n i t y , forging the quintessence of 'business-end of e v e r y t h i n g ' - 'some people c a l l i t God'" 31 Joe remarks "apparently there is no l i m i t .  . „anything can be said in  this place and i t w i l l be true and w i l l have to be believed"(po This f r i g h t f u l  idea is the result of the Narrator's  74).  "dizzying  indulgence" of self—now he i s being made to suffer the consequence, the perpetual  nightmare of anything being p o s s i b l e ; t h i s is a t o t a l l y  disorienting factor and one that is t r u l y This nightmare is reflected (p.  46)  insupportable.  in the peculiar and "unnatural"  dimensions of both the barracks and the policemen themselves.  They display weird angles and nightmare proportions.  As the  Narrator  approaches the barracks the road turns towards the l e f t , and the and unconvincing"(p. 46)  looking barracks appear on the left-hand  "false side.  23.  The dimensions waver and a l t e r mysteriously as he approaches and the Narrator finds the spectacle "appalling" and his "gaze faltered about the thing uncomprehendingly as i f at least one of the customary dimensions was missing, leaving no meaning in the remainder"(p. What i s missing from the barracks is r e a l i t y ;  46).  this structure is a  dream-construct and as such is altered and presented as we think we perceive, not as we a c t u a l l y , p h y s i c a l l y , perceive.  Thus the  Narrator  is trapped within his own personal, i d i o s y n c r a t i c perception of the world; there i s no external  r e a l i t y to balance and moderate his view.  A l s o , his  own human "dimension" i s missing--only an inhuman s p i r i t remains clinging to existence.  There i s no sense to what i s l e f t ; he is in hell or chaos  where God-given laws of order and s t a b i l i t y cannot and do not r u l e . Naturally, this assault on the senses is "appalling."  De Selby promotes  chaos by his experiments; the Narrator succumbs to de Selby's influence and follows his chosen mentor into a h e l l i s h  eternity.  The physical anomalies of the Narrator's nightmare world are also evident in his view of Sergeant Pluck: "ordinary enough as each part of him looked by i t s e l f ,  they a l l seemed to create together, by some  undetectable discrepancy in association or proportion, a very disquieting impression of unnaturalness, amounting almost to what was horrible and monstrous"(p. 47).  This is an acute description of a denizen of a dream  or nightmare world, a world in which ordinary things are queerly d i s t o r t e d , and in which t h e i r meaning must be deciphered.  Such a world  does violence to the senses; harmony between the senses and the mind i s l o s t , and disharmony reigns.  Naturally  the Narrator f e e l s  (p. 46) of the "momentous and frightening"(p.  "afraid"  47) barracks, becoming  24.  "dry-throated and timorous from wonder and anxiety"(p.  47).  The real  cause of the Narrator's f e a r , however, is the.resemblance (although he does not r e a l i z e house i t  it)  of the barracks to Mathers' house.  has "a small window"(p.  the barracks.  Like Mathers'  171) which he can see as he approaches  Even more disquieting is his f e e l i n g that "the whole  morning and the whole world seemed to have no purpose at a l l frame the house"(p. 172).  The house is the external  save to  manifestation of his  consciousness: "the whole morning and the whole world" cannot exist without the house because the house has become the l i m i t of his existence.  After a l l , according to de Selby, "a house [ i s ]  c o f f i n ' " or '"box'"(po  19).  The Narrator  'a large  is trapped forever within the  tangible results of his crime, and his f r u i t l e s s search for the black cash box becomes his sole meaning for existence, 0'Nolan carefully constructs a framework of b r u t a l i t y murder to j u s t i f y  the hell he creates for his "hero"(p.  according to the author,  "a heel and a k i l l e r " ( p .  173),  and  who i s ,  173):  Not everybody knows how I k i l l e d old P h i l l i p Mathers, smashing his jaw in with my spade; but f i r s t i t i s better to speak of my friendship with John Divney because i t was he who f i r s t knocked old Mathers down by giving him a great blow in the neck with a special bicycle pump which he manufactured himself out of a hollow iron bar. Divney was a strong c i v i l man but he was lazy and idle-minded. He was personally responsible for the whole idea in the f i r s t place (p. 7), The Narrator,  with almost unbelievable callousness, opens his story  with a description of his murder of Mathers.  The contrast between the  humorous idea of anyone bothering to manufacture a "special bicycle pump" expressly for murder, and the gruesome, crushed head of Mathers is grotesque, i t  highlights the unconcern with which the  views anyone but himself, and i t j u s t i f i e s  Narrator  his continual existence in  25.  hell.  In a d d i t i o n , the Narrator dismisses Mathers with a brief phrase,  he does not even allow Mathers the decency of an entire sentence to describe his demise.  The Narrator continues to reveal the extent of his  cold-blooded s e l f i s h nature by his immediate denial of any r e s p o n s i b i l i t y towards Mathers' murder; he places a l l the blame on Divney.  He always  speaks of the murder as though i t were committed by someone e l s e . Naturally enough the Narrator is betrayed, just as Alex i s betrayed by his "droogs." suffer in  For resorting to violence for gain, the Narrator is made to  eternity. The Narrator carefully charts his moral decline: I do not know exactly how or when i t became clear to me that Divney, f a r from seeking c h a r i t y , intended to rob Mathers; and I cannot r e c o l l e c t how long i t took me to realize that he meant to k i l l him as well in order to avoid the p o s s i b i l i t y of being i d e n t i f i e d as the robber afterwards. I only know that within six months I had come to accept this grim plan as a common place of our conversation. Three further months passed before I could bring myself to agree to the proposal and three months more before I openly admitted to Divney that my misgivings were at an end. I cannot recount the t r i c k s and wiles he used to win me to his s i d e . It is s u f f i c i e n t to say that he read portions of my 'de Selby Index' (or pretended to) and discussed with me afterwards the serious r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of any person who declined by mere reason of personal whim to give the "Index to the world (p. 14). 1  The Narrator neatly portrays, pn a descending s c a l e , his f a l l  from a  semblance of morality into immorality; from a supposedly ethical human being to an inhuman, unscrupulous murderer. the year-long process of "persuasion."  He painstakingly describes  However, what r e a l l y stands out  here is Divney's f i n e judgement of the Narrator's character: Divney divines the e s s e n t i a l l y self-seeking and violent nature of his compatriot.  Divney offers the Narrator a bait he cannot resist—he  tempts him with de Selby.  Divney, the D e v i l ' s Advocate, plays on the  26.  Narrator's need to assert s e l f .  He persuades the Narrator that he is  s e l f i s h to keep his c o l l a t i o n from the world.  He persuades the  that a manuscript is more valuable than a man's l i f e ;  Narrator  t h i s , of course,  is precisely what the Narrator himself r e a l l y thinks in his ultimate selfishness..  Thus, a f t e r a show of pretended reluctance, he becomes an  accomplice to murder. The Narrator has entirely abnegated himself from any sense of responsibility.  Because of their greed, he and Divney commit murder,  and, as a r e s u l t , the rest of the Narrator's time l e f t on earth is a living hell.  He cannot leave Divney for a second because Divney knows  where the black cash box is hidden and the Narrator cannot trust his accomplice to share their  i l l - g o t t e n gains.  Meanwhile, the Narrator  grows to loathe the sight of his erstwhile f r i e n d .  This hell on earth is  merely transposed into eternity when he dies: at f i r s t he is alone with only the weird denizens of hell as companions, but then the frightens Divney to death, and they are closeted together  Narrator  forever.  Old Mathers t e l l s the Narrator that his "principal weakness [ i s ] Number One"(p. 25),  that i s , his devotion to s e l f .  This weakness i s ,  of course, also the primary flaw of the majority of the characters in these novels, hence the ease with which Dougal in The Ballad of Peckham Rye and Leo in The Time of the Angels, for example, can manipulate those around them.  This devotion to s e l f is also the contributor to the  violence that f l a r e s in these novels—for nothing is allowed to stand in the way of the s e l f .  The compulsive desire to always look out f o r  "Number One" i s also reflected in A Clockwork Orange in Alex's prison i d e n t i f i c a t i o n number: " l i t t l e 6655321"(p. 61).  Broken down, this number  reads: 6655321=28=10=1: Alex is also "Number One" the primal f i g u r e .  In  27.  Alex's opinion, he is the only figure in his world, he has no use for others; to Alex other people merely exist to satiate his desires for s e x , bloodletting and violence.  For Alex, violence is his only  exDtession in l i f e , the only way he feels he e x i s t s ; only when he i s committing some horrible act of gratuitous violence does he feel  really  alive. For O'Nolan's Narrator, the black cash box has become his reason to " l i v e " - - h e desires existence at any c o s t , his principal fear i s of irrevocable e x t i n c t i o n , and the black cash box gives him a meaning in life.  At the thought of his impending death on the s c a f f o l d , the  Narrator immerses himself in thoughts of l i f e : I began to feel intensely every fragment of my equal humanity. The l i f e that was bubbling at the end of my fingers was real and nearly painful in intensity and so was the beauty of my warm face and the loose humanity of my limbs and the racy health of my red rich blood. To leave i t a l l without good reason and to smash the l i t t l e empire into small fragments was a thing too p i t i f u l even to refuse to think about (p. 89). The Narrator's love of l i f e is immense, and he is intensely aware of its joys now that he is on the verge of being hanged. The Narrator's horror of death i s portrayed even more c l e a r l y after he encounters Policeman Fox.  Fox asks the Narrator i f he is sure  he escaped from the s c a f f o l d : Was I sure? Suddenly I f e l t horribly i l l as i f the spinning of the firmament had come against my stomach for the f i r s t time, o .1 f e l t my brain struggling on bravely, tottering so to speak, to i t s knees but unwilling to f a l l completely. I knew I would be dead i f I lost consciousness f o r one second. I knew that I could never awaken again or hope to understand afresh the t e r r i b l e way in which I was i f I l o s t the chain of the b i t t e r day I had had, I knew that he was not Fox but Mathers. I knew Mathers was dead. I knew that I would have to talk to him and pretend that everything was natural. . .(pp. 1 5 8 - 1 5 9 ) .  28.  To the Narrator the thought that he may indeed be dead is so horrifying. that he prefers to c l i n g to his existence in h e l l ; he prefers to exist in his nightmare world than give up his consciousness. face r e a l i t y  and r i s k losing his s e l f forever.  He is unable to  He knows that Fox is  Mathers and that therefore he is talking to a dead man and thus i t must l o g i c a l l y follow that he is dead a l s o , but he clings to his fantasy, and w i l l i n g l y allows the gruesome and grotesque cycle of events to begin again.  Obviously, the Narrator w i l l never be able to exhibit enough  courage to extricate existential  himself from his nightmare.  His nightmare is an  one, s i m i l a r to the plight of the characters in Jean Paul  32 Sartre's Huis Clos  in which the exquisite torment of hell i s provided  by the other characters, just as the Narrator's hell l i e s p r i n c i p a l l y in the presence of the ghastly and menacing policemen and t h e i r execution of a system of unholy j u s t i c e . The Narrator i s the epitome of s e l f i s h n e s s : he cannot bear the thought of having his " l i t t l e empire" smashed to pieces, yet he coldly and callously performed this very act upon the corpse of Mathers.  The  Narrator keeps referring to humanity, but in view of his crime, he has f o r f e i t e d the right to be human.  In f a c t , he has not been truly human  since he murdered Mathers with the spade.  He has committed an unnatural  deed (although he never feels he deserves to be punished), thus he must suffer for eternity  in an unnatural hell in which he continually t r i e s  pretend that "everything [ i s ]  to  natural."  Like the Narrator in The Third Policeman, Alex does not have a sense of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y towards others; he does not feel responsible for his violent acts.  He g l e e f u l l y refers to an a r t i c l e in the newspaper  29.  r e f e r r i n g t o "Modern y o u t h " i n which a p r i e s t d e c l a r e s t h a t "IT WAS THE DEVIL THAT WAS ABROAD"(p. 35).  T h i s message d e l i g h t s A l e x because i t  p l a c e s a l l t h e r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r t h e e v i l i n t h e w o r l d onto t h e d e v i l : "so we young i n n o c e n t m a l c h i c k s c o u l d t a k e no blame"(p.  35).  The " d e v i l "  i s " a b r o a d " i n A l e x ' s w o r l d , but i t i s a d e v i l which l u r k s w i t h i n man, i t i s man's i n n a t e c a p a c i t y f o r e v i l , an e v i l g e n e r a t e d by t h e d e s i r e s o f the s e l f .  E v i l i s n o t c o n f i n e d t o A l e x and h i s " d r o o g s , " however, and  t h i s i s shown by t h e c o n t e n t s o f t h e newspaper a r t i c l e s : " t h e g a z e t t a was the u s u a l about u l t r a - v i o l e n c e and bank r o b b e r i e s " ( p . 34).  That the  p a p e r i s c h i e f l y c o n c e r n e d w i t h news o f t h i s v a r i e t y c l e a r l y i n d i c a t e s the f a s c i n a t i o n p e o p l e have w i t h v i o l e n c e and c r u e l t y : i t t i t i l l a t e s human f a n c y , y e t we a r e h y p o c r i t i c a l and p r o f e s s t o d i s l i k e and abhor such v i o l e n t a c t i o n s .  Each one o f us has t h e c a p a c i t y t o be c o m p l e t e l y  c o n t r o l l e d by t h e i d , thus f u l f i l l i n g o u r d e s i r e s a t any c o s t .  To  p r e v e n t such an o c c u r r e n c e , t h e m a j o r i t y o f us l e a r n s e l f - c o n t r o l , r e a s o n and a sense o f o t h e r n e s s .  Alex, o f course, i s t o t a l l y lacking i n  s e l f - c o n t r o l , and extreme a c t s o f v i o l e n c e a r e t h e r e s u l t . Dr. Brodsky p r o v i d e s f u r t h e r e v i d e n c e o f A l e x ' s p r e o c c u p a t i o n with s e l f .  At the demonstration o f Alex's "cure" i n f r o n t o f the  M i n i s t e r o f t h e I n t e r i o r and v a r i o u s p r i s o n o f f i c i a l s , Dr. Brodsky d i s c u s s e s A l e x ' s r e a c t i o n as though he were n o t even t h e r e . o u t : '"Me, me, me.  How about me?  Where do I come i n t o a l l t h i s ?  l i k e j u s t some animal o r dog.' . .am I j u s t t o be a c l o c k w o r k (p. 100).  In t h i s dehumanizing  Alex c r i e s Am I  orange'"  society, i n d i v i d u a l s are relegated to  t h e l e v e l o f a n i m a l s ; but t h e a d d i c t i o n t o u n t h i n k i n g v i o l e n c e degrades men t o a p o s i t i o n even l e s s t h a n a n i m a l - l i k e . V i o l e n c e i s t h e c o n d i t i o n o f man's r e g r e s s i o n i n t o i n h u m a n i t y .  A l e x r e a l i s e s t h a t by d i v e s t i n g  30.  him of the a b i l i t y to commit violent acts they have taken his humanity, his s e l f , away from him.  To exist in the absurdity and nightmarishness  of his world, however, he needs the a b i l i t y to be v i o l e n t .  He i s a  product of his s o c i e t y , a society which reduces people to "clockwork." If  he is not v i o l e n t , he w i l l be unable to survive in this world:  "Advanced knowledge has merely confirmed the b e l i e f that man i s depraved . . .the only form of individualism l e f t resides in someone like Alex and 33 finds expression in sick b r u t a l i t y . "  However, Alex's "teen-age friends  and enemies have been from the f i r s t soulless brutes, as apt hoodlums as policemen.  The experts in behavioural transformation are more  34 sophisticated in t h e i r enjoyment of vicarious violence. H y p o c r i t i c a l l y , these "experts" use Alex as their puppet, and with him to provide the excuse, they plunge into the depths of degradation and violence without implicating themselves. Selfishness is not a prerogative of Alex and the government, however; F. Alexander possesses his share too,  F. Alexander t e l l s Alex  that he is going to use Alex as a weapon to bring down the government, Alex then asks i f he w i l l be able to l i v e normally again: He looked at me, brothers, as i f he hadn't thought before and, anyway, i t d i d n ' t matter compared with and a l l that c a l , and he had a look of surprise at saying what I had s a i d , as though I was being l i k e in wanting something for myself (p. 126)„ It  of that Liberty me selfish  is i r o n i c that neither can see the selfishness of himself, only that  of the other.  Alex demands his rights as an individual and a human  being, yet he has never allowed other individuals t h e i r r i g h t s . and F. Alexander use people e n t i r e l y for t h e i r own ends.  Both he  This world  operates on the Judaic law of an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,  31.  but Alex does not care for being on the receiving end of this This law also operates in the world of the nameless and he does not care to be on the receiving end of i t either.  law. Narrator, When  Pluck decides to use the Narrator as a scapegoat in order to avoid the wrath of the inspector, the Narrator "terrifying  is extremely upset.  But the  thing about the Sergeant's responses is t h a t , compared to  the sense of l i f e held by the narrator,  they are t o t a l l y unemotional, and  he expects standards of moral behaviour from the narrator while having 35 none himself."  In this respect, Pluck can, however, be compared to  the Narrator himself, and his "responses" seem t o t a l l y j u s t i f i e d  in a  hell constructed to cause the sinner g r i e f and s u f f e r i n g . Because Alex's s e l f is a construct of violence, his  inability  to perform violent deeds results in his decision to commit s u i c i d e . goes into the library to find out how, and he notices that i t " l i k e the von of very starry old men with their old age and poverty"(p.  112).  smells  plotts stinking of  spiritual  His d i s i n t e r e s t  insight and i t  like  Alex's keenest sensory apparatus is his  sense of smell and he tends to describe things in terms of smell than s i g h t .  He  in visual perception r e f l e c t s  rather  his lack of  is s i g n i f i c a n t that when he is betrayed by his  "droogs" he is chained across the eyes: "one of my cursed grahzny bratties  chained me on the glazzies"(p.  view of l i f e ;  53).  He is "chained" by his  he is chained, not only l i t e r a l l y within the state p r i s o n ,  but within his s e l f and his compulsion for violence.  As he is taken to  the police s t a t i o n , his eyes open a l i t t l e and he sees a blurry  "steamy"  (p. 54) c i t y going by--a nightmarish image which r e f l e c t s the world he lives i n .  32.  Murdoch also emphasizes the destructive powers resultant from an over-interest  in the s e l f .  Sein und Zeit and she "kicks"(p  0  Pattie stumbles over Heidegger's  8) i t  "petulantly"(p.  8), an action  which symbolizes her l a t e r feelings about Carel and his dark philosophy.  Murdoch is opposed to Heidegger's negative expression of  the idea of being, his ideas l i k e nothingness and death. These negative ideas help to determine the concept which is at the centre of Heidegger's phenomenology, the Dasein, the being-there quality of every existent being. The human Dasein, confronted with i t s own eventual nonbeing in death, must respond to i t s own inner voice which constantly underlines i t s f i n i t u d e . There can be no appeal outward to a transcendental being; the Dasein must turn back to i t s e l f and the inner voice which proclaimed i t s limited existence. This is another version of the self-involvement which I r i s Murdoch abhors, and in Carel's case i t leads to s e l f - d e i f i c a t i o n . 36 In contrast to many of her other works, however, there is r e a l l y no strong opposing force to combat the Dasein of Carel in The Time of the Angels.  "The two ethical alternatives  weak a t h e i s t i c humanism."  37  offered.  . .are satanism and  The "satanic alternative"  38  is  represented by Carel; "humanism" by Marcus and Norah Shadox-Brown. Rubin Rabinovitz interprets the significance of Sein und Zeit to the novel.  He notes that the long quotation at the opening of Chapter  Fifteen of The Time of the Angels is from Heidegger's work, and "on the most elementary l e v e l , I r i s Murdoch is opposed to Heidegger because his continuation in the tradition of Neitzschean n i h i l i s m poses a great threat to any ethical system based on an idea of goodness; Heidegger's idea of nothingness introduces a moral vacuum from which Carel never emerges."  39  When Pattie reads Carel's philosophic writings  (which are  lying on his desk) the words sound "senseless and awful" to her  "like  33.  the distant boom of a catastrophe"(p. 144)„  The ponderous, heavy,  gloomy words echo the state of Carel's inner being: his simultaneous horror of and his b e l i e f in the essential nothingness of man. The i s o l a t i o n of the s e l f in a "vacuum" is symbolized by the dreamlike setting of the novel: a fog-bound rectory located in a "wasteland"(p.  21),  isolated from the  real world:  Ever since their a r r i v a l the fog had enclosed them, and [Pattie] s t i l l had very l i t t l e conception of the exterior of the Rectory. It seemed rather to have no e x t e r i o r , and, l i k e the unimaginable c i r c u l a r universes which she read about in the Sunday newspapers, to have absorbed a l l other space into i t s substance (p. 21). The rectory is a self-contained universe, cut o f f , s p i r i t u a l l y , from the rest of the world.  It  both physically and  is shrouded in a pall of  evil which is generated by Carel and which corrupts and perverts occupants.  its  The outside world and i t s laws have ceased to e x i s t ; only  Carel's demonic rules operate here.  Naturally,  in such a r e s t r i c t e d  and claustrophobic world, e s p e c i a l l y with Leo and his penchant for manipulating people, violence i s never far from the surface.  With so  many s e l f i s h people s t r i v i n g for g r a t i f i c a t i o n , violence of one variety or another can only be the r e s u l t . Pattie hates opening the door of the rectory because when she does f o g , and possibly enemies (Pattie sees Mrs. Barlow as an "enemy" [p. 9 ] ) ,  w i l l rush i n .  Nor do the characters wish to leave; they prefer  to linger entrapped in a s o l i p s i s t i c world. that i t  is " t e r r i b l y dark.  the house"(p. 8).  . .inside.  Carel remarks to Pattie  The fog seems to have got into  Carel is a Kurtz-like figure whose b e l i e f in his  essential hollowness has l e t e v i l rush in—just as the fog pours into the house at every opportunity.  The gloom of the house is symbolic of  34.  the dark nature of Carel and Leo (and, i t  seems, of Elizabeth).  The claustrophobic quality of the rectory affects deeply, she longs f o r any action to destroy  Muriel  it:  Should they not, before i t was too l a t e , break out? Muriel was surprised to find how strongly she took to this metaphor. What exactly was there to break out of? What was she afraid of here which made her dream vaguely of an escape, a rescue, a shock which might dissolve barriers and bring to something which seemed dark and cramped the sudden l i g h t of change (p. 96). Muriel, in spite of her intentions, is never strong enough to "break out" of this prison of fantasy and s e l f i s h d e s i r e s ; i t  takes an act of  violence to liberate her and Elizabeth from the rectory, but their freedom from the stranglehold of the fantasizing s e l f is l e f t uncertain. Neither the s e l f i s h love Muriel feels for Eugene nor the ethics of Norah Shadox-Brown are enough to break the prison.  Paradoxically,  Muriel and Elizabeth are set free by cruelty and despair, by Leo's callousness in stealing the icon and the violent nature of Carel's death--his retreat into s u i c i d e . The decision to make the s e l f and i t s desires paramount in l i f e i s also examined in The Ballad of Peckham Rye. violence is shown to stem from this choice.  As in the other novels,  Perhaps the most obvious  example (after Dougal with his s e l f i s h and satanic desires f o r psychological manipulation)  i s Dixie.  Like the Narrator of  The Third Policeman, she is driven by greed; l i k e the Narrator, purpose of her greed is to improve her social p o s i t i o n .  the  Here the  resemblance ends, however, for while the Narrator desires public recognition for a volume of de Selby s Index edited by himself, 1  Dixie  wants public recognition for her advancing social status, a status  35.  symbolized by such items as a spin-dryer and a fancy new bungalow. achieve her aim, Dixie makes Humphrey's l i f e a misery.  To  She rarely  consents to go out f o r the evening because she would rather save the money.  When Humphrey takes her up on to the Rye and t r i e s to make love  to her, she is simply not interested; instead she is obsessed by her monetary situation and cannot stop complaining about i t .  After a while,  Humphrey can stand i t no more, and he turns on her saying: "I the matter with you. . .you're losing a l l your sex.  It's  a l l this saving  up to get married and looking to the l o l l y a l l the time, i t of a g i r l .  It  know what's  takes sex out  stands to reason, i t ' s only psychological"(p. 57).  Dixie  i s a soulless creature whose desires f o r love and sex are c a l c u l a t i n g l y subordinated to her longing for a house and a "spin dryer"(p. is reduced to an automaton.  We a l l have a f a t a l flaw.  she took s i c k , how would you f e e l , would she repel you?"(p.  D i x i e ' s sickness is "avarice," and she does repel Humphrey. Crewe t e l l s Humphrey: "the more [ D i x i e ' s ] (p.  123).  She  When Dougal learns of D i x i e ' s meanness, he  muses: "Avarice. . .must be her f a t a l flaw. If  56).  29).  Arthur  got the meaner she gets"  Dougal uses this "fatal flaw" in his experimentation with  human nature, he works on i t and plays with i t until violence erupts: Dixie lets f l y with her handbag at Beauty and an ongoing fight begins between the young people and continues sporadically until  Dougal leaves  Peckham Rye and Dixie gets j i l t e d by Humphrey at the a l t a r . Merle Coverdale is also trapped by her greed for physical possessions, an entrapment which ultimately v i c i o u s l y murdered.  leads to her being  She has been having an a f f a i r with her employer,  Mr. Druce, for a number of years, but she hates her continued involvement with him and she complains to Dougal that she is trapped by  36.  the r e l a t i o n s h i p .  She envies Dougal because he is "free"(p.  He replies "Aren't you f r e e ? . . .stop seeing Druce"(p. 98).  98). However,  Merle cannot f o r two reasons: she fears i f she leaves Meadows, Meade and Grindley she w i l l not get as good a position elsewhere; and Druce contributes money towards the upkeep of her f l a t and she does not wish to give i t  up.  Thus the deadly sins of pride and greed have enmeshed  Merle in t h e i r c o i l s and she i s unable to break free.  Dougal  liberates Merle of course, but not in the way she wished.  finally  He engineers  her "freedom" by c a r e f u l l y and cold-bloodedly goading Druce into suspicious of Merle. paranoia until  feeling  Dougal almost imperceptibly feeds Druce's growing  the man murders Merle by plunging a corkscrew into her  neck. The murder of Merle is also an extension of. her sexual relationship with Druce which is one of an escalating sado-masochism. Druce l i k e s to pinch her neck--hard--and Merle squeals, but does not protest.  Malcolm Bradbury notes that Muriel Spark has a "capacity. .  turn our f a m i l i a r world into an exceptional, even a surreal m i l i e u .  .to  . . ."  She creates a "universe of strangeness" wherein ordinary everyday a c t i v i t i e s and actions become "a strange and t e r r i f y i n g performance."  40  human  Druce's behaviour as a sadist is thus meaningful  in  l i g h t of the S u r r e a l i s t s ' preoccupation with the Marquis de Sade and his practices.  Sade and the Romantic Movement have been considered the  progenitors of Surrealism: thus David Gascoyne writes of the S u r r e a l i s t s ' interest  in Sade and their "desire for v i o l e n c e , both i n t e l l e c t u a l  physical."  4 1  It  is Dougal s manipulation of people and their 1  and  inner  desires and fantasies which creates the surreal ambiance of Peckham Rye.  37.  The atmosphere throughout the novel is one of uneasiness and expectancy, with the p o s s i b i l i t y of violence as a r e s u l t . to be found in S u r r e a l i s t l i t e r a t u r e and a r t ,  This odd feeling i s also for  Surrealism always tended toward an iconography of disquiet. An art which is expressly anticonformist makes i t s point by sabotaging the existing order of things; and a free and open sexuality was intended to be the model, in this instance, for a free and open society. But the view of sexuality which actually came out of the work was, as often as not, pessimistic and incomplete, crippled and f e a r f u l . 42 The sexuality of The Ballad of Peckham Rye (and, indeed, of A Clockwork Orange and The Time of the Angels) is "incomplete, crippled and f e a r f u l . " and their  Druce and Merle are s a d i s t i c and masochistic respectively  relationship lacks the wholeness of love; Humphrey's and  Dixie's sex l i f e has dwindled to nothing since she has become obsessed with saving up f o r marriage. In A Clockwork Orange, Alex i s a sadist who cannot experience love and gentleness and human companionship; for Alex to enjoy sex i t must be accompanied by violence. sudden passion for Muriel  In The Time of the Angels, Leo's  is certainly not tender:  And you're going to undergo my love.  '"I  love you Muriel.  And you're going to love me'. . . .  he gripped Muriel's arm, digging his fingers in f i e r c e l y . " ( p .  179).  makes his declaration of love sound like a j a i l sentence—he t r i e s  Leo to  force his love v i o l e n t l y onto Muriel.  This passion i s not love, i t  s e l f i s h d e s i r e , "incomplete" caring.  As a demonic f i g u r e , Leo, l i k e  is  Alex, cannot love, iii  The "Inverted" World Each of the four novelists has so far been shown to have  created a world dominated by the darker side of the s e l f , a nightmare construct peopled with demonic creatures trapped in a miasma of fantasy  38.  and desire.  Each world i s a dreamlike, inverse of the external world,  a place of reversals and opposites.  In worlds such as these, the  majority of i n d i v i d u a l s , enslaved by t h e i r d e s i r e s , lose most of t h e i r humanity and become mechanical creatures, c l i c k i n g inhumanly along in pursuit of s e l f - g r a t i f i c a t i o n .  The clashing of opposites in these  inverse worlds (good versus e v i l , love versus power, truth versus fantasy, order versus disorder) continually results in violence of one form or another.  In A Clockwork Orange, for example, violence and the  lust for power are born out of love, Alex's genuine love for music; yet conversely, the opposite is also found: "Burgess seems to be saying that, in a b r u t a l , resigned, mechanical world--a world turned clockwork— love must come from hate, good from e v i l , peace from violence,  43 redemption from s i n . "  In these worlds, then, the attributes of  virtue arise from s i n , and vice versa.  In Alex's world good only  exacerbates e v i l ; out of chaos and disorder in The Third Policeman emerges a perverse kind of order; in The Time of the Angels, Carel and Leo, under the guise of love, lust for power—the result is destruction. Dougal Douglas in The Ballad of Peckham Rye, works on the r i g i d , overcontrolled order of Peckham, and again violence is the r e s u l t . The protagonists of these novels, to a greater or l e s s e r degree, exude an unexpected a i r of innocence, the incongruity of which in regard to their a c t i o n s , seems grotesque.  Again, this is a facet of  the weird, inverted worlds created by these authors: only in such a milieu could hate, violence and destruction arise from apparent innocence.  One of Spark's themes in her novels i s an "obsession with the  breaking or collapse of innocence, and a related interest in figures of camp or high s t y l e " ;  4 4  and in A Clockwork Orange, Alex "simply  39.  experiences l i f e d i r e c t l y ,  sensuously, and, while he is f r e e , joyously.  Indeed, his g u i l t l e s s joy in violence of every kind, from the simple destruction or theft of objects to p r a c t i c a l l y every form of sexual and nonsexual assualt, is such that the incongruous term innocent is  liable  45 to come to a reader's mind."  But Alex's a i r of innocence i s  illusory,  created purposely (primarily through the medium of f i r s t person narrative) by Burgess to enable us to follow Alex down the gory path of his multiple crimes.  For Alex craves the sensation of hate that he  experiences through violence, sex, and perversely, through music.  When  he listens to Bach he thinks, "slooshying away in the brown gorgeousness of the starry German master,  . ,1 would l i k e to have tolchocked [the  F. Alexanders] harder and ripped them to ribbons on their own floor" (p.  30). Alex is a man of contrasts.  He cannot stand ugly sights or  smells, yet he p r a c t i c a l l y worships blood.  He does not l i k e Dim because  Dim has "too much von of sweat on him, which was one thing [he] had against old Dim"(p.  24).  Alex also d i s l i k e s Dim because Dim tends to  get himself into a mess when they are out "tolchocking."  When Alex sees  a drunk in the street he i s impelled to attack him for "one veshch I could never stand was that.  I could never stand to see a moodge a l l  f i l t h y and r o l l i n g and burping and drunk, whatever  his age may be, but  more especially when he was real starry l i k e this one was"(p. 14). is physically nauseated by old age, d i r t and decay, in p a r t i c u l a r odour.  Alex their  Thus the hell of p r i s o n - l i f e i s as carefully crafted to torture  his senses as is the nightmare world of the Narrator The Third Policeman.  in  Prison i s a nightmare for Alex because of the  cramped conditions shared with men who exude an unpleasant s m e l l , a  40o  smell which exemplifies the hopelessness of their  existence—their  imprisonment in the far s t r i c t e r prison of social existence--and ultimately in the s e l f .  This prison-smell h o r r i f i e s Alex because i t  denotes the f a i l e d , trapped, l i f e l e s s human being without power, and this is precisely the kind of existence he most fears f o r  himself:  I could viddy a l l the plennies s i t t i n g down slooshying the Slovo of the Lord in their horrible cal-coloured prison p l a t t i e s , and a sort of f i l t h y von rose from them, not l i k e a real unwashed, not grazzy, but l i k e a special real stinking von which you only got with the criminal types, my brothers, a like dusty, greasy hopeless sort of von (p. 63). The prison chaplain provides a sermon on hell which corresponds to Alex's feeling of being in the underworld: the sinners' "mouths crammed with burning ordure, their skin peeling and r o t t i n g .  . ."(p.  63).  While uncleanliness plunges Alex into a form of s e l f i s h h e l l , blood raises him into an equally s e l f i s h heaven (which is made complete by music).  Blood is Alex's "old friend"(p.  curtains"(p.  17) throughout the novel,  12), which pours in "red  Alex notes that a l l  blood or  "red red krovvy"(p„ 89) i s "put out by the same big firm"(p. 21).  To  let the blood of humanity is to go against "the good" or the "big f i r m " ; thus in bloodletting he achieves the ultimate in power, and in so doing proves his existence.  Out of contact with something as fundamental  to  humanity as blood comes the spark which leads Alex to the desire for violence, and thence to e v i l . Alex does not care to dissociate himself from his w i l l in any way, even through the medium of drugs.  He thinks i t  of vesch"(p„ 7) to want to lose touch with r e a l i t y ,  is a "cowardly sort or at least the  r e a l i t y one controls to some degree: "you lost your name and your body and your s e l f and you just d i d ' n t care"(p. 7).  Alex does not want to  41.  lose  his  self,  does  he t o u c h e x i s t e n c e and f e e l  "droogs" is  the  he w o u l d r a t h e r  are v i v i f i e d  life-giving  w e a k e n e d by i t s strengthened lust  for  assert self—through  force of  their  of  in.  b l o o d y on t h e was l i k e  After  floor,  quiet  desire  power o v e r t h e  of  fact,  victims.  this  creatures driven mask  of  scene,  slip  too,  his  feeling  room:  rather  they  at  "then  there  h a t e , s o s m a s h e d w h a t was l e f t v i o l e n c e and o u t  victims  of  d e s i r e i n the  of a force  they  A l e x and h i s  to  sexual  a need  for  sex  act  cannot  avoid.  " d r o o g s " do  not  have metamorphosed i n t o m e c h a n i c a l  Alex u n c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y this  point,  and he  lets  his  loses,  i n n o c e n c e , a p p e a r i n g i n d e e d as t h o u g h  police station  ptitsa  and b e i n g  c a t - l a d y , A l e x gives the p o l i c e a f u l l  g a v e them t h e u l t r a - v i o l e n c e , t h e  the  in  he w e r e  clockwork.  in-out-in-out,  lot  "droogs"  l e t t i n g b l o o d , the  s e x seems t o be s u b l i m a t e d t o  briefly  his aura of  a s s a u l t on t h e  starry  of  However, the element of  Upon r e a c h i n g t h e  "I  of  love for  s o l e l y by h a t r e d .  urbanity  momentarily, made o f  full  s e x comes a n i n t e n s e h a t r e d .  seem human i n  are  A l e x seems a l m o s t p a r a s i t i c a l  " d r o o g s " smash up t h e  their  c o n v e r s e l y makes t h e m v i c t i m s Thus o u t  blood  r a p i n g M r s , A l e x a n d e r a n d l e a v i n g h e r b r u i s e d and  Out o f in  victims  a r e A l e x and h i s  the enjoyment  and we w e r e l i k e  comes h a t e ;  F o r as  blood.  A l e x and h i s  be s m a s h e d " ( p . 2 2 ) .  thus  A l e x and h i s  produces.  and as t h e i r  s p i l l a g e , so c o n c o m i t a n t l y  and e n j o y m e n t  Ultimately,  blood i t  victims,  and r e v i t a l i z e d by i t .  hate sets  alive.  by v i o l e n c e , by t h e  Paradoxically, after of  he i s  violence—only  the  lot,  right  w i t h mewing k o t s  shorthand m i l l i c e n t  booked f o r list  of  his  his  c r a s t i n g , the d r a t s i n g , the  up t o t h i s  night's  and k o s h k a s .  looked a b i t  .  veshch with the  .when I ' d  faint,  got  crimes: old bugatty  through  poor o l d v e c k " ( p .  the  50).  42,  His mechanical recitation of his crimes of "ultra-violence" sounds almost l i k e a shopping l i s t ; this technique, combined with the language employed, serves to divorce the reader from the actual h o r r i f i c of Alex's crimes and to conjure up sympathy for him--an  nature  unnatural  sympathy for a vicious hoodlum, a sympathy which is enhanced by the use of Alex's point of view, Alex's attitude and his crimes are incongruous; this occasions  46 a feeling of s u r r e a l i t y  in the novel,  a sensation of r e a l i t y being  f i l t e r e d through dream-inspired impressions, sensations and associations. In this way we may participate without feeling  vicariously in this maelstrom of violence  guilty.  In an inverse world in which evil may come out of good, Alex has become a mechanical creature who can only escape his fate through music.  However, music, which in Murdochian terms pertains to the good  and thus should pave the way to the r e a l , leads Alex into the bad. Brodsky endorses this view: "the sweetest and most heavenly of the activities  partake in some measure o f violence—the act of l o v e , for  instance; music for instance. choice has been a l l yours"-(pp,  You must take your chance, boy, the  91-92).  The sight of beauty,  for  example, makes Alex want to act "real savage"(p. 1 2 4 ) , a reversal of the normal response to beauty.  In a perverse way, Alex becomes s l i g h t l y  more human when he l i s t e n s to music, but he becomes the personification of a l l man's darkest, most demonic thoughts,  Alex plays out man's  capacity for e v i l by embodying our most violent  fantasies.  While Alex feels his mode of existence as freedom, i t r e s t r i c t s true freedom of the s e l f :  actually  43.  . . .badness is of the s e l f , the one, the you or me on our oddy knockies, and that s e l f is made by old Bog or God and is his great pride and radosty. But the not, s e l f cannot have the bad, meaning they of the government and the judges and the schools cannot allow the bad because they cannot allow the s e l f . And is this not our modern h i s t o r y , my brothers, the story of brave malenky selves fighting these big machines? I am serious with you brothers, over t h i s . But what I do I do because I l i k e to do (p. 34). Alex envisions himself fighting for individualism and freedom against the "big machines" or the "government,"  What he does not r e a l i s e is that he  is j u s t as mechanical himself; he likes to "do" violence because his Nadsat culture—the culture of s e l f - g r a t i f i c a t i o n — h a s  conditioned him  to feel this way; he is imprisoned within his desire for the r e a l i t y of violence.  He cannot recognize love: he even views God's creation of man  as an act of "great pride" rather than s e l f l e s s love.  The concept of  s e l f l e s s n e s s , in f a c t , would be incomprehensible to Alex. While Alex is redeemed somewhat by his love for music, Brodsky is mechanical and violent in a h o r r i f i c , c a l c u l a t i n g , cold and s p i r i t l e s s fashion.  Even Alex is preferable to Brodsky, for while Alex  desecrates the human body, Brodsky desecrates the human s o u l .  Alex i s  forced to keep his eyes open to watch films on physical and sexual violence; he is conditioned to feel deathly i l l  at the thought of this  violence, yet those viewing the films with him are shown to be equally violent and perverse psychologically.  Dr. Brodsky is t o t a l l y inhuman  and r o b o t - l i k e , as his "thick otchkies"(p. 81) i n d i c a t e .  Essentially,  he i s less human than Alex because he cannot even appreciate music: "music. . .so you're keen on music. It's  I know nothing about i t  a useful emotional heightener, that's a l l  I know"(p. 90).  cannot appreciate music because he lacks even the perverse and  myself. Brodsky  44.  destructive emotions of Alex and the Nadsat world; this makes him a c h i l l i n g representative of the "bourgeois"(p. 36) world of the "not-self," Alex, then, appears to be no more violent than the world he lives i n , a world which laughs at his humiliating torture and which (as Alex points out) conceived the behaviour modification films which are far more violent than anything Alex ever undertook. Carel (in The Time of the Angels) does not understand the concept of s e l f l e s s love either.  His dark passion for Pattie and his  incestuous relationship with Elizabeth are his way of manifesting his power; indeed his aura of power, his presence, is extremely magnetic. Pattie,  even in the height of her regard for Eugene, is  drawn to Carel.  She is denigrated by him, however, and rendered less  than human by their dark passion. [p.  145])  irresistibly  She is a mouse  ("Pattie-Beast"  to his hawk: "his presence subjugated her whole being with a  dark swoop, with a pounce of automatic unconscious power"(p. Pattie,  in f a c t ,  147).  is fascinated, not by the man himself, but his  palpable, almost tangible power; his power has a dark "presence" of i t s own.  Power is also what attracts  Muriel to her father,  and yet  it  simultaneously repels her. Mankind is fascinated by power—power of a l l  kinds; and  power is perhaps one of the most potent forces as i t stems from deep unconscious urges within us„  The Surrealists acknowledged the desire  for power in love by their homage of de Sade.  In f a c t , the s u r r e a l i s t  idea of love ranges from the "ideals of courtly love to the noxious 47 basements and torture-chambers of the Marquis de Sade,"  They  45.  recognize the "legitimate  pull of both magnetic poles--the zenith of Eros  and the nadir of Thanatos.  Sade was admitted to the pantheon of  ancestors l i s t e d in the f i r s t Manifesto because he was ' S u r r e a l i s t in 48 Sadism.'"  Carel c l e a r l y seems to be a surreal figure in his role of  father and lover.  A l l the women in the novel (with the exception, perhaps,  of Norah Shadox-Brown) seem to be at once sexually attracted to him and frightened or intimidated by him (Marcus exhibits the same response). This attraction may stem from the unconscious feeling t h a t , in the view of the S u r r e a l i s t s , "fathers  in general stood for authority,  for  49 repression, for conjugal rights exercised with a brutish r e g u l a r i t y , " and Surrealism "was founded on a patient reply of childhood experience. Above a l l , Surrealism was about the overthrow of authority as represented 50 by the father."  Both Pattie and Muriel try desperately to "overthrow"  Carel's authority; but Pattie Muriel  has to flee from the s i t u a t i o n , and  is only freed by his s u i c i d e . Leo also desires to "overthrow" authority:  needed a great big liberating act. (p.  104).  That was i t .  "I  told you I  Down with fathers!"  Leo has stolen the icon—Eugene's prize possession.  His act  is symbolic: in the Freudian sense, he is acting against his father in a push f o r authority;  in a Christian sense, in his role as L u c i f e r , he is  revolting against God.  The web of l i e s and deceits surrounding the  icon is emblematic of the l i e s and untruths u t i l i z e d by Satan to desecrate God's most loved accomplishment—the creation of man.  Leo is  even described as a hissing Miltonic f a l l e n angel when he and Muriel c l i n g together in the cupboard.  They emerge from the cupboard l i k e  " f a l l i n g angels"(p. 155) and Leo utters buzzing sound"(p. 156)„  "a continuous very soft hissing  46.  P a t t i e ' s slavish love for Carel leads to t h e i r undoing for her devotion adds fuel to the flames of his madness f o r power. claims to be her god; she is his "dark angel"(p.  149).  Carel  Murdoch said of  The Time of the Angels that "there was a kind of religious or metaphysical conception at the very root of the idea"  and this  concept is embodied in the t i t l e : "the word 'angels' in the t i t l e is a reference to Carel's idea that, with the death of God, the dark angels  52 have been l i b e r a t e d . " desires of man. that dreadful  The "dark angels" are the dark unconscious  Carel t e l l s Marcus "one can only love an angel.  thing is not love.  communicate are lost"(p.  166).  And  Those with whom the angels Carel is certainly  "lost,"  His passion  for Pattie and her acquiescent soul lead him on a quest for power which ultimately destroys him.  He c a l l s Pattie his "black goddess," his  "counter-virgin," his "anti-Maria"(p. 166).  For Carel has become a sort  of a n t i - C h r i s t , worshipping and embodying a l l that is opposite or contrary to C h r i s t ' s teachings.  While Christ taught the  value of s e l f l e s s love and the importance of the s p i r i t ,  inestimable Carel preaches  v i o l e n t , s e l f i s h passion, and the inexpressibly awful nothingness of Heidegger's philosophy—the condition of the n o n - s p i r i t . Carel celebrates a peculiar sort of black mass with Pattie: he recites a prayer (of sorts) while making love to her on the f l o o r in the darkness.  The sunlight is blacked out at his request; this symbolizes  his voluntary act of violence to his soul when he blocks out the spiritual  l i g h t of love and God's teachings.  betrayed and Pattie i s his Judas, for him, but she is unable to.  Like C h r i s t , Carel is  He asks her to "bear pain"(p.  Her f a i l u r e  149)  symbolizes the essential  47,  uselessness of C a r e l ' s power; and his "dark angel" leads him to his death.  For "the man who would be king, who would rise above the  common lot or urge others to do the same, violates the i n e r t i a nature and invites catastrophe.  Man's natural  of  role is l i m i t e d .  .  ."  5 3  A l l the protagonists in these novels attempt to r i s e above man's "natural  r o l e , " thus i t  is inevitable that each book contains a  catastrophe as a result of pride and a desire for power. In The Third Policeman the Narrator's mechanical being is c h i l l i n g l y described.  degeneration into a  Paradoxically, his intensely  human desires--greed and a desire for fame and position—transform him into an emotionless robot-like being.  This degeneration begins with  his slaughter of Mathers: I went forward mechanically, swung the spade over my shoulder and smashed the blade of i t with a l l my strength against the protruding chin, I f e l t and almost heard the fabric of his skull crumple up c r i s p l y like an empty eggshell. I do not know how often I struck him after that but I did not stop unti1 I was t i r e d (p. 15). This gruesome description of the callous beating to death of an elderly  man belies entirely  the Narrator's e a r l i e r protestations of  innocence and Divney's responsibilty in tempting him into murder. shows himself .as ultimately the more e v i l character.  He  He is only partly  redeemed l a t e r on by his affection for the female b i c y c l e ; but of course, she too is primarily a mechanical being: "his ride on the stolen bicycle.  . .is.  . .presented in terms of an adulterous l i a i s o n . . .But  the l i a i s o n has a very real warmth and considerable humanity."  54  The  Narrator has forced his humanity to be an exiguous part of himself. J u s t l y , his insensate'beating of Mathers leads to his doom, for because  48.  of his preoccupation with shattering Mathers' s k u l l , Divney has time to s l i p away and hide the black cash box.  Divney's action  begins the Narrator's hell on earth, and his eventual descent into the hell of eternity where he is ever "occupied with the mechanical task of finding the black box"(p.  20).  After the Narrator is blown up, his eyes "remained open for a long time without a wink, glazed and almost s i g h t l e s s " (p. 21) and he notices things about him "in a cold mechanical way"(p. 22).  This  description reinforces the image the reader has of the Narrator as an empty, doomed creature with the blank stare of a corpse.  The Narrator  eternal tormentor, Mathers, is also described as being "mechanical." Mathers' face is "terri fying=,  . .but the eyes were h o r r i b l e .  Looking  at them I got the feeling that they were not genuine eyes at a l l  but  mechanical dummies animated by e l e c t r i c i t y or the l i k e , with a tiny pinhole in the centre of the ' p u p i l ' through which the real eye gazed out secretively and with great coldness."(p. 27)  This description of  Mathers seems reminiscent of descriptions of the D e v i l ; and the emphas on "coldness" and the mechanical quality of the man indicates a horrifying implacable force of e v i l lurking in mankind, a force which produces coldness, chaos and violence in i t s wake.  Even the world  of the Narrator seems "like a great workshop" where "sublime feats of mechanics and chemistry were evident on every side"(p» 108); feats of humanism are nowhere in evidence. The Narrator's world shows further evidence of the reversal of normal r u l e s .  Sergeant Pluck decides that as the Narrator has no  name he cannot e x i s t , even though the Narrator can c l e a r l y be seen to be standing before him and his existence can be proven t a c t i l e l y .  49.  "This is the reversal of the empirical method."  Furthermore, he  can be wounded by MacCruiskeen's spear even though i t  is i n v i s i b l e .  "The point of the spear i s l i k e many forces in physics. there because i t  has e f f e c t ,  so even i f  It  must be  i t can never be seen or  measured, i t s presence must be inferred in order to explain these effects.  O'Brien is once again mocking the i n a b i l i t y of the human  mind, t i e d to the need to v i s u a l i z e , to embody or f u l l y  understand  56 i t s own  rationalizationo" Mild as the Narrator appears throughout the majority of the  novel (an aspect of his character which is c o n t r o l l e d , as in Alex's case, by f i r s t  person narrative point of view), we discover that he  is actually l i k e the characters in the other novels, f i l l e d with dreams of attaining power. tells  He feels he can gain power with the "omnium" Fox  him is contained in the black cash box: I could destroy, a l t e r and improve the universe at will. I could get r i d of John Divney. . .by giving him ten m i l l i o n pounds to go away. I could write the most unbelievable commentaries on de Selby ever written and publish them in bindings unheard of for their luxury and d u r a b i l i t y . . .A leg of f l e s h and bone yet stronger than iron would appear magically upon my l e f t thigh (p. 163).  On the way home he indulges in further pleasurable omnium-inspired fantasies: "extravagence of eating, drinking, inventing, destroying, changing, improving, awarding, punishing and even l o v i n g . " ( p .  168).  All  these ruminations seem a f a r cry from the rather humble-sounding, almost c h i l d l i k e , Narrator of e a r l i e r  in the novel.  Through his fantasies  the truth emerges, the real nature of the Narrator becomes c l e a r l y visible.  Of a l l the sensations he desires to experience, power is the  50.  most sought a f t e r .  However, l i k e C a r e l , Dougal and Alex, he desires  godlike power, the power to a l t e r even a universe at w i l l .  He  embodies a l l man's obsessions with self—man's capability for greed, c r u e l t y , vanity.  He epitomizes the negative aspects of man's nature:  he is weak, v a i n , e g o t i s t i c a l , ruthless, s e l f i s h and power-hungry. His comment "and even loving" c l e a r l y places love and affection as a mere afterthought  in his mind; and obviously by love he means  the satiation of lust or passion rather than the love of the He also conjures up a long l i s t of tortures  spirit.  (which sound l i k e a  description of a painting by Hieronymus Bosch) to be administered in revenge on Pluck and MacCruiskeen: It would probably be possible for me to save time and trouble by adapting the underground machinery to give both of them enough trouble, danger, trepidation, work and inconvenience to make them rue the day they f i r s t threatened me. Each of the cabinets could be altered to contain, not bicycles and whiskey and matches, but putrescent o f f a l s , insupportable smells, unbeholdable corruptions containing tangles of gleaming slimy vipers each of them deadly and foul of breath, millions of diseases and decayed monsters clawing the inside latches of the oven to open them and escape, rats with horns walking upside down along the c e i l i n g pipes t r a i l i n g t h e i r leprous t a i l s on the policemen's heads, readings of incalculable perilousness mounting hourly upon the—(pp, 164-165) This ghastly and gruesomely f e r t i l e l i s t of tortures reveals the innate cruelty of the Narrator's nature.  His innocent,  rather  c h i l d l i k e , veneer cracks and peels away under the heady influence of omnium-begotten omnipotence.  We see that the violence with which he  k i l l s Mathers is not uncharacteristic of his nature as he i n f e r s , but rather is an integral  part of his being.  51.  Dougal Douglas also epitomizes the desire for power within man, and to this end Peckham becomes a microcosm of the world.  Dougal t e l l s Mr. Druce: "the world of Industry. .  with human l i f e .  .throbs  It w i l l be my job to take the pulse of the  people and plumb the industrial  depths of Peckham" (p.  17).  He  adds"I shall have to do research. . .into their inner l i v e s . Research into the real Peckham. the s p i r i t u a l well-spring  It w i l l be necessary to discover  . „ ."(p.  17).  Dougal's desire for power  leads him to "plumb" the depths of the residents of Peckham by unleashing t h e i r innermost unprincipled desires.  Catastrophe r e s u l t s .  He comments that the residents of Peckham are "bored"(p.  13) and t h i s  boredom is a result of the depressing, industrial milieu in which they reside.  In this respect, t h e i r world is similar to Alex's  England in which boredom is also r i f e .  Boredom and violence are the  opposite ends of a continuum, both stemming from the shallowness of the individual and an i n a b i l i t y  to find s p i r i t u a l meaning in  life.  Thus boredom is the mainstay of the hooligan, and to be bored i s the 57 "most touted excuse of a l l . " The boredom of the inhabitants of Peckham Rye allows them to be e a s i l y corrupted: they are t i t i l l a t e d and excited by the sense of strangeness or uniqueness Dougal emanates.  He plays on this  facet  of his personality in the same way he plays with Trevor Lomas's d i s l i k e of him, and violence is the inevitable  result.  cause of Dougal's need for power i s his i n a b i l i t y  Perhaps the  to l o v e - - h i s "fatal  flaw"(p. 24).  He cannot stand to see his g i r l f r i e n d , Jinny, when she  i s s i c k : "It's  my one secret weakness. . .1 can't help i t .  . .sickness  52.  k i l l s me. . .try to understand my f a t a l flaw. (p. 24).  Dougal's i n a b i l i t y  Everyone has one"  to be with Jinny when she r e a l l y  needs him demonstrates his i n a b i l i t y to genuinely love her; i t seems to be through his "flaw"—his f a i l u r e  to love—that  his lust for power  arises and possesses him leading him from evil to e v i l . As in the world of the Narrator in The Third Policeman, the world of Peckham Rye is also a mechanistic one, both externally domination by f a c t o r i e s , and internally well-springs."  in i t s s t e r i l e  in i t s  "spiritual  The inhabitants of Peckham Rye are locked in a dance,  and the idea of dance is a central metaphor in this novel: Most of the men looked as i f they had not properly woken from sleep, but glided as i f drugged, and with half-closed l i d s , towards t h e i r chosen partners. This approach found favour with the g i r l s . The actual invitation to dance was mostly delivered by gesture; a scarcely noticeable f l i c k of the man's head towards the dance f l o o r . Whereupon the g i r l , with an outstretched movement of surrender, would swim into the hands of the summoning partner (p. 58). Not only these dancers, but a l l the characters in The Ballad of Peckham Rye are locked into this f o r m u l i s t i c dance pattern.  This pattern  is  a l t e r e d , however, when Dougal arrives and choreographs his own version which incorporates and expresses their  inner d e s i r e s .  Before the  advent of Dougal, they are somnambulistic, trapped in a pattern of r i t u a l i z e d daily movements.  They move like clockwork to the  mechanical ballad of Peckham Rye.  But after Dougal's a r r i v a l ,  inhabitants become the unwitting participants  in a "motion study"  (p. 50) of which Dougal i s the "choreographer"(p. 50). factory g i r l s , but a l l  the  Not only the  Peckham dances to his tune, his "ballad."  Dougal creates a nightmare world by unleashing Peckham's unconscious f o r c e s , and the inhabitants dance to his disharmonious tune.  53.  A clear example of this clockwork routine is the sexual behaviour of Merle and Mr. Druce.  They follow a r i g i d routine.  He  v i s i t s her once a week--on Saturdays—and they perform routine actions. Nothing varies from week to week; nothing deviates from the They even remove their clothes "in a steady rhythm"(p. sado-masochistic tendencies follow a pattern—he by pinching her—and she routinely screams.  53).  pattern. Even their  routinely hurts her  Their sex l i f e is boring  and mechanical (as Humphrey's and Dixie's is growing to be), which is not surprising as t h e i r relationship seems to be devoid of love. However, Dougal upsets this balance by adding the new dimension of jealousy and suspicion; Druce gives f u l l dies for  rein to his sadism, and Merle  it. E a r l i e r in the novel when Dougal probes Druce's deepest  secrets, the man breaks down and weeps, dumbfounded at the knowledge Dougal possesses.  Merle enters upon this scene and stares aghast,  exclaiming:"'this place i s becoming chaos "'(p.  57)—which i t  is.  In  his satanic r o l e , Dougal has transformed q u i e t , staid Peckham into a chaotic h e l l on earth where passions run w i l d , ruled over by the Lord of Misrule, and where v i o l e n c e , terrorism and murder stalk the s t r e e t s . Leo (in Murdoch's novel) i s also an advocate of chaos.  He  postulates to Muriel that their world might not be as ordered, individual and free as she might think:  "Just you cast your eye on the  universe and then talk to me about morality.  Suppose we're a l l  directed from somewhere else by remote control? frogspawn in somebody's pond"(p." 104).  being  Suppose we're just  When Muriel t r i e s to take him  to task f o r stealing the icon, he merely asks her i f  she knows about  54o  "quasars"(p, 104). deliberately  Infuriated, Muriel asks: "How could you have  hurt your father so much?"  But Leo again r e p l i e s :  "Quasars, M u r i e l , quasars, quasars, quasars"(p„ 104).  Leo i s  promulgating the view that we l i v e in a chaotically haphazard world, a world l i k e a "quasar."  A quasar is thought to be a type of  or s t a r - l i k e object, which is a source of radio energy.  star,  As these  distant objects pulsate with meaningless radio waves, so perhaps we are just as meaningless and do not exist in the way we think we do. Possibly earth and i t s inhabitants are just such a purposeless c o l l e c t i o n of e l e c t r i c a l  impulses, performing actions  indiscriminately  and at random, with no higher order prevailing or c o n t r o l l i n g .  In such  a disordered, random world, morality becomes meaningless f o r there can be no standards of good and e v i l ; our actions are as meaningless, and consequently as amoral, as the pulsating quasars. This view is echoed, a l b e i t in somewhat d i f f e r e n t terms, by Carel.  He talks to Marcus of the "death of God"(p. 164)  freeing of the "angels"(p. 164)„  and the  The "angels" are harbingers of chaos,  symbolizing the need to please s e l f , to bolster oneself against the absurdity of the human condition.  For i f one is to be "good" in the  sort of world envisioned by Leo and C a r e l , then "one must be good for nothing, without sense or reward"(p  0  165).  Thus any act of goodness •  or any act of violence becomes merely an act to bolster the ego, to assure oneself of one's existence. If  we l i v e in a randomly ordered universe, then "we are  the creatures of accident, operated by forces we do not understand" (p.  165); we are mechanical creatures with no real purpose for  55.  existence.  Norah encapsulates Carel's philosophy of absurdity and  nothingness: he stated not only that there was no God and human l i f e was senseless, but also that the precarious reign of morality, i t s e l f of course an i l l u s i o n , is now at an end and that henceforth humankind is to be the victim of irresponsible psychological forces which your brother picturesquely designates as angels (p. 185). These "angels" are the unprincipled desires of the unconscious which deform and d i s t o r t the world around them, creating a comforting fantasy structure.  But "to be a benighted creature, sunk in a r e a l i t y  which one is overwhelmingly tempted to deform by fantasy, is to be in a condition very l i k e that of o r i g i n a l s i n . " ^  C a r e l , of course, is  just such a "benighted creature," and Leo, by committing his "liberating act"(p. 104) of stealing the icon, is following in C a r e l ' s footsteps. C a r e l ' s philosophy, then, is representative of Murdoch's interpretation of Freud's dark view of the human psyche.  This view  stands in stark contrast with the optimism which enthrones reason as the core of morality. . . i t depicts human beings as fantasy-ridden creatures, who prefer to l i v e in the tissue of i l l u s i o n s rather than try to look at the world as i t i s , and themselves as they are. Realism and truth are what we must avoid because they are the enemies of fantasy and i l l u s i o n . The hazy cosmos of the ego i s magnetic and f a s c i n a t i n g , and within i t s p l i a b l e domain the human consciousness d r i f t s unimpeded around the great grand central me. 59 This description also applies rather aptly to the condition of the Narrator in The Third Policeman as he " d r i f t s " around in a nightmare world created by the "great grand central me."  Because the  s e l f has been allowed to run wild and madly create an impossible inverted world, "reason is overthrown and a coherent unreason takes i t s place.  The Narrator has to accept with his senses what his reason  56.  t e l l s him i s i m p o s s i b l e , "  uu  Thus his senses are preternaturally  alive  and active while his mind refuses to evaluate any l o g i c : he merely accepts what he is told in t h i s world where anything seems possible: The scene was real and incontrovertible, and at variance with the talk of the sergeant, but I knew the sergeant was talking the truth and i f i t was a question of taking my choice, i t was possible that I would have to forego the r e a l i t y of a l l the simple things my eyes were looking at (p„ 75), The Narrator always chooses the easy route—the fantastic—over the real.  He is told to use his imagination, and in a surreal  sense, 61  according to Breton, "the imaginary is what tends to become the r e a l . " He follows this maxim and blinds his eyes to i l l o g i c and i l l u s i o n and decides they are r e a l ; concurrently he pretends r e a l i t y  is f a l s e .  By  his a c t i o n s , he can truly be likened to one of Murdoch's "benighted" creatures. Paradoxically, by entering the dominion of the s e l f ,  the  Narrator has become less than human—he lives sensuously but not intellectually.  As Burgess shows in A Clockwork Orange, a world  dedicated to the senses is one of violence and disorder.  Ironically,  however, the chief agents of disorder in the Narrator's world are the peculiar policemen; i t  is paradoxical that policemen, those respectable  upholders of law and order, should keep order in hell wherein can be no order.  there  However these policemen actually commit the crimes  and solve them themselves, thus they are, in a c t u a l i t y , upholders of an odd kind of disorder!  rather  the  In f a c t , to try and keep a sense  of order in his world the Narrator vainly endeavours to look "ordinary" in the naive hope that this w i l l stave off the horror of his world:  57.  "I  knew I would go mad unless I got up from the f l o o r and moved and  talked and behaved in as ordinary a way as possible"(p. 23).  However,  when he begins to talk the "words s p i l l e d out of [him] as i f they were produced by machinery"(p. 23),  thus reinforcing the idea of the  mechanical man who has l o s t his humanity. Thus the "importance of The Third Policeman l i e s in  its  presentation of a vision of hell which implies man's reliance on order, 62 pattern, harmony."  In this respect i t seems s u r r e a l , for the  s u r r e a l i s t s examined "madness, dream, the absurd, the incoherent, the hyperbolic and everything that is opposed to the summary appearance of 63 the r e a l . "  Alex's world is also one of disorder ruled by the so-  called upholders of law and order.  The government performs the  ultimate irony when i t hires i t s most vicious young criminals (such as Dim and Billyboy) to keep order, thus promoting (but l e g a l l y this time) a reign of terror which is f a r more effective and far-reaching by virtue of i t s increased power and legitimacy, than the reign of the Nadsat thugs: Alex's p a r t i c u l a r routine sado-masochism--nightly orgies of "tolchocking" and the old "in-out i n - o u t , " alternating between sabbaticals at the a l l - t o o Freudian Korova milkbar and withdrawals (onanistic and otherwise) into his multi-speakered stereo-womb --may be the healthy neurosis standing between Alex and the paranoia of the populace. „ .yet more insidious is the growing feeling one gets from reading A Clockwork Orange of governments encouraging violence in order to whip up and feed the paranoia that w i l l ultimately engender allegiance through f e a r . 64 Fear, in f a c t , is the optimally effective t o o l , for ultimately, fear i t s e l f we are a f r a i d o f .  it  is  We are t e r r i f i e d by the strength of this  emotion which transforms us into mindless animals.  To stave off  fear  58.  of the human condition—in p a r t i c u l a r the knowledge of the absurdity of man and the p o s s i b i l i t y of the void—violence is employed to assert existence and to provide some sort of meaning in l i f e , perverse or no. In such surroundings, Alex has very l i t t l e choice but to become a vicious thug„ Fear becomes an almost physical presence in The Time of the Angels: It was in this closeness that Pattie apprehended at last something l i k e a great fear in C a r e l , a fear which a f f l i c t e d her with terror and a kind of nausea. It seemed to her now t h a t , f o r a l l his curious s o l i t a r y gaiety, she had always seen him as a soul in h e l l . Carel was becoming very frightened and he carried fear about with him as a physical environment (p. 32). By rejecting God, by desiring to be a d e i t y , Carel has allowed the blackness of evil to pour into his being. tremendous fear both of what i t  The result i s this  is he has become and of the absurdity  of existence; l i k e Kurtz in Heart of Darkness, he has seen the "horror." Unlike Kurtz, however, he is unrepentant and unable to change.  To  survive he chooses power: only by the subjugation of his household does he feel  that he e x i s t s . The unease that O'Nolan's Narrator experiences in his dream  world is exemplified by his obsession with the mythical gold watch. continually despairs: "If  I had not lost my American gold watch i t would  be possible for me to t e l l the time"(p. 46). have no American gold watch"(p. but he refuses to l i s t e n .  He  46).  To which Joe r e p l i e s , "You  Joe t e l l s the Narrator the  For time no longer exists for the  truth—  Narrator,  but, as indicated by his obsession with the watch, he desperately desires i t s presence to reconstitute order and normality in his world.  Time is  distorted in this world: in some areas an actual cessation of time has  59.  occurred.  Parts of the countryside are always bathed in the glow of a  late afternoon sun for example; in other parts i t  is always morning.  He is in de Selby s world in which de Selby "denies that time can pass 1  as such in the acceptable sense and attributes to hallucinations the commonly experienced sensation of progression as, for instance, in journeying from one place to another or even ' 1ivi ng'"(p.  44).  When the Narrator returns to his house he receives the ghastly shock that the three days he thought he had been absent were, in a c t u a l i t y , sixteen years.  This horrible knowledge, along with Divney's  t e r r i f i e d explanations, provides incontrovertible evidence that he is dead, and this knowledge nearly annihilates the Narrator: My mind became quite empty, l i g h t , and f e l t as i f i t were very white in colour. I stood where I was f o r a long time without moving or thinking, I thought after a time that the house was strange and I became uncertain about the two figures on the f l o o r (p. 170). In this instant, the Narrator has v i r t u a l l y of no substance.  However, he i s unable to l e t go of s e l f and thus be  delivered from h e l l . "leftwards"(p.  become non-existent; he is  Consequently, upon leaving the house he turns  170) and tramps the road back towards the barracks:  "My mind was completely void"(p. 171).  He is in a sort of limbo at  this point, the only time in the book (or in his existence) that he has not been "concerned about" himself.  However, t h i s condition does  not last and he reenters the mechanical pattern of his dreamworld, only i t  is subtly altered by the advent of Divney, whose "jaws clicked  . . . l i k e a machine"(p. 169); a change calculated to render hell even more unpalatable to the Narrator than i t was previously—for he would have paid Divney "ten m i l l i o n pounds" to be r i d f o r him forever.  60. iv  Language The language of these novels, especially in the case of  A Clockwork Orange and The Third Policeman, force as the characters themselves.  is as much a central  In this respect, the novelists  r e f l e c t the Surrealist view, for the Surrealists l i k e the Romantics before them, . .credited language with the power to change l i f e , believing the quality of what we recognize as r e a l i t y to be a function of our expressive, l i n g u i s t i c structures. They posited an intimate relation between the corruption of the European order and obsolescence of i t s forms of expression. 65 The Surrealist view is c l e a r l y applicable to the Nadsat culture of A Clockwork Orange in which the language shapes and molds l i f e .  The  convention of Nadsat prevents ethical complexity, and the replacement of a conventional vocabulary with a c a r e f u l l y edited,  limited  vocabulary in which words frequently mean the opposite of what one expects, makes i t d i f f i c u l t  to d i f f e r e n t i a t e  between good and e v i l  ( for example, "horrorshow" conjures up the impression of something h o r r i b l e , yet to the Nadsats i t actually denotes something pleasurable): the Nadsats mentally chain themselves through their language and t h e i r unprincipled desires.  The majority of Nadsat is derived from Russian.  For example, "Bog" derives from t r a n s l i t e r a t i n g  the word God from the 66  Russian (or C y r i l l i c s c r i p t ) into the Roman alphabet.  Possibly  Burgess chose the Slavonic language because of the graphic quality of the words.  God is c l e a r l y degraded by the Nadsats in view of the  connations of "Bog " 0  either beautiful  However, Burgess remarks that no "language i s  or ugly,"  it  r e f l e c t s our purpose in society.  is what we make of i t  and how i t  The Nadsats have used their  to imprison themselves within their  culture.  argot  61.  Burgess "has carefully chosen words that are immensely more evocative to the English or American ear than their English equivalents, and he has modified some of them very p l a u s i b l y . "  6 8  For example, "there i s something much more murderous about a 'cutthroat b r i t v a ' than a cutthroat r a z o r . "  6 9  Nadsat is b r u t a l ,  harsh and d i s t o r t e d , yet is is an '"objective c o r r e l a t i v e ' with a vengeance" and i t  "reflects certain rhythms and textures and  syncopations" that are found in music.^° It is hardly coincidental that Alex's favourite piece of music is Beethoven's Ninth, rich in dissonances that only a professional ear can detect, but f i l l e d also with as many untapped, i n f i n i t e (so i t seems) harmonies. . .Alex's language i s , in i t s way, ugly . o . but place i t alongside the bland and vapid professional or everyday language of the doctors and warders and chaplains and hear how hollow t h e i r language r i n g s . . . C o n t r a r i l y , Alex emerges as something of a poet, singing dithyrambs to violence . . . 71 Language d i s t o r t s Alex's world temporally. alters almost year to year; even Alex has a l i t t l e  The language  difficulty  understanding the speech of two ten year old g i r l s he meets in the record store.  One says to him: "Who you getten, bratty?  What biggy,  what only?"(p. 37) and Alex notes: "These young devotchkas had t h e i r own way of govoreeting"(p. 37).  When he gets them home he remarks on  the" "weird slovos that were the heighth of fashion in that youth group"(p. 38).  Thus language e f f e c t i v e l y distances everyone,  disintegrating communication and transforming different age groups into virtually different nationalities.  Thus  The ferocious and coarse, partly archaic, partly mod, neologic "nadsat" of A Clockwork Orange captures perfectly the violence and pain of incidents, breaking  62.  down into standard English only when the hero is being brainwashed and stripped of i n d i v i d u a l i t y . C l e a r l y , i t i s always an amazing feat to have the language of a novel not simply match the a c t i o n , but be the a c t i o n . 72 Alex's name is also i n t e r e s t i n g .  One interpretation  of i t s  significance l i e s in the "fusion of the negative prefix a_ with the word lex [which] suggests simultaneously an absence of law and a lack of words . . .[Alex] i s a r t i c u l a t e  but 'wordless' in that he apprehends  l i f e d i r e c t l y , without the mediation of words" even though he "seems 73 to have a great many words at his command." The language of The Third Policeman is also as much a part of the action as the characters themselves.  The truth of the  Narrator's  world is revealed in the odd language employed, especially in the preponderance of negatives. s u r r e a l i s t i c category.  In this sense, the novel f a l l s  into a  Anna Balakian postulates that "language.  . .is  a vehicle by means of which i n t r i n s i c truths surge from psychic depths of conscience, precluding the p o s s i b i l i t y of the existence of abstract thought separate from i t s symbolization. „ .words are the symbolization of thought, i t s c o e f f i c i e n t ; they shape thought so t o t a l l y that we 74 cannot say which came f i r s t . " Certainly the language in The Third Policeman i s very peculiar with i t s prevalence of p o l l y s y l l a b i c words; i f such a word can be employed in the place of a short one, i t almost invariably i s .  The  policemen are huge, beefy, in f a c t , grossly oversized, and their language r e f l e c t s their appearance.  Pluck never uses a simple word  l i k e puzzle or problem, he always turns to such favourites as "conundrum"(p„ 62) or "puzzledom"(p. 4 9 ) .  Throughout the novel the  63.  language o f the p o l i c e m e n i s c o n v o l u t e d , vague and a b s t r a c t t o t h e extreme.  J . C. C. Mays notes t h a t t h e d i a l o g u e does n o t grow out o f what b u i l d s up t o i t but o s t e n t a t i o u s l y t u r n s i t s back on t h e s e t t i n g , u s i n g i t o n l y t o s i l h o u e t t e t h e o p p o s i t i o n between sound and sense o r as an echo-box f o r t h e b l a n k c a r t r i d g e t o resound more h o l l o w l y . The same d i s s o c i a t i o n i s r e f l e c t e d i n the terseness with w h i c h t h e words a r e put t o g e t h e r . B r i a n O'Nolan i s n o t happy i n l o n g s e n t e n c e s , which p r o g r e s s c a u t i o u s l y w i t h t h e forms o f s u b o r d i n a t i o n and connection c l e a r l y expressed, c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y s u b s t i t u t i n g c l i p p e d emphatic pronouns l i k e he_ and i t f o r who and w h i c h . The s e n t e n c e s are u s u a l l y s h o r t and t h e i r e l e g a n c e c o n c i s e and a n t i t h e t i c a l . 75 The language used by the N a r r a t o r i s a l s o s t r a n g e  and  c o n v o l u t e d , but h i s s p e c i a l i t y i s a use o f n e g a t i v e s w i t h t h e p r e f i x "un", and a h a b i t o f d e s c r i b i n g t h e s c e n e r y as i f i t were s e n t i e n t : "The r i g h t - h a n d r o a d was a g r e e n e r c o u n t r y w i t h t h e s m a l l t u r b u l e n t r i v e r accompanying t h e road a t a r e s p e c t f u l d i s t a n c e " ( p . 4 6 ) .  When  Joe t e l l s him he w i l l l e a v e him i f he i s hanged, the N a r r a t o r pours a t o r r e n t o f words p r e f i x e d w i t h "un".  He speaks o f h i s " u n i n t e g r i t y "  (p. 103), h i s "unisolation"(p„ 103), the "low u n s i l e n c e o f t h e (p. 104) and b e i n g " u n a l i v e " ( p . 131).  out  daytime"  R a t h e r than use a p o s i t i v e word  such as n o i s y , he c o n t i n u a l l y employs words l i k e " u n s i l e n c e " which are couched  i n a n e g a t i v e f a s h i o n ; he a l s o l i k e s d o u b l e n e g a t i v e s , f o r  example, "not a t a l l u n f l a t t e r i n g " ( p . 145). method o f s p e a k i n g i s perhaps  T h i s backwards o r r e v e r s e  s y m b o l i c o f a nightmare  where chaos, i l l o g i c and n e g a t i o n o f v a l u e s r e i g n .  existence in hell The  Narrator  p r e f e r s t o a v o i d r e a l i t y by u s i n g " u n a l i v e " r a t h e r t h a n d e a d — d e a d i s f i n a l , e m p h a t i c a l l y p o s i t i v e , and t h e N a r r a t o r wishes t o a v o i d t h i s t h o u g h t t o any e x t e n t .  Anne C l i s s m a n comments:  64.  Throughout the book O'Brien has shown an awareness of the problem of translating the untranslatable into semasiological terms. Language is bound to express a p a r t i c u l a r set of physical laws and the problem of the s c i e n t i s t is to find new terms, and sometimes even new grammatical forms in which to express new concepts. Here the objects the narrator sees partake of no q u a l i t i e s inherent in the world and so can only be described in terms of what they are not. 76 Murdoch and Spark do not employ language in quite the way that Burgess and O'Nolan do.  Through f i r s t person narrative point of  view and wild experimentation with language, Burgess and O'Nolan are able to present us with unfamiliar and dreamlike worlds in which the strangest events may occur; but because we have to make the e f f o r t to l e a r n , or at least feel f a m i l i a r with, the language, we tend to become a part of the world and feel an involvement in i t  (even though  the language paradoxically also distances us from the actual protagonists).  The same involvement is not f e l t in either  The Time of the Angels or The Ballad of Peckham Rye.  Murdoch and Spark  use the more conventional tool of repeated key words and images to symbolically create a thematic pattern.  One interesting factor in  The Time of the Angels, however, i s that the f i r s t chapter is in the present tense, in contrast to the more conventional past tense of other chapters.  The use of the present tense creates a dramatic  reaction to the novel, a sense of immediacy.  initial  We are precipatated into  the relationship between Carel and P a t t i e ; yet Carel i s not named, he is merely a "black cassock"(p. 8 ) , a subtle presence of e v i l which has yet to be defined.  However, he is symbolic of e v i l ' s ever-present  q u a l i t y , a timelessness suggested by the use of the present tense. The e v i l is further  indicated by the a l l - p e r v a s i v e fog.  The  65.  f o g , which i s present throughout most of the n o v e l , is a physical emanation of e v i l i n the house: " c u r l i n g , creeping, moving and yet s t i l l , always receding and yet always present, everywhere and yet nowhere, imposing s i l e n c e , imposing breathless anxious a t t e n t i o n ,  it  seemed to symbolize everything which at t h i s time [Muriel] f e a r e d " ; yet i t also " e x c i t e d " ( p . 58) her.  E v i l is j u s t such a formless,  i n t a n g i b l e force—one which both frightens yet e x c i t e s people, and Murdoch's use of t h i s image pattern combined with an imagery of darkness, d e f t l y presents us with a v i v i d picture of a h e l l i s h , nightmare world where e v i l holds sway and violence simmers j u s t below the s u r f a c e , ever ready to erupt.  That the e v i l i s timeless i s f u r t h e r  intimated by Murdoch's extensive use of present p a r t i c p l e s which suggest a continuous flowing movement. Spark is more l i g h t - h e a r t e d in her use of language: she uses language to i n d i c a t e s o c i a l s t r u c t u r e , education and age grouping, and the f r i c t i o n which is present between them.  One key word which  o r i g i n a t e s with Dougal and which is soon being used by nearly everyone except Dixie (who d i s l i k e s i t )  is " p s y c h o l o g i c a l " ( p . 119).  Dougal i s tampering with everyone's psychology; he functions as a c a t a l y s t and as such p r e c i p i t a t e s the dark forces contained within the characters so that they bubble to the surface.  Sometimes Dougal echoes  Alex such as when he pretends Trevor Lomas attacked him "with a r a z o r rip, r i p , rip"(p.  130)  0  At other times the language i s close to that of  The Third Policeman — this i s evidenced by the c o l d , m a t t e r - o f - f a c t way Druce's murder of Merle Coverdale is described: "he came towards her with the corkscrew and stabbed i t i n t o her long neck nine times and k i l l e d  66.  her.  Then he took his hat and went home to his wife"(p. 136).  The  rather mechanical way the murder is described is indicative of Spark's method of presenting violence in the novel.  There are numerous fights  and v i c t i m i z a t i o n s , but a l l are described in p r e c i s e , u t i l i t a r i a n terms which again serve to distance the reader.  The language tends to  be simple and c l i p p e d , the sentences short and t e r s e ; the language does not flow smoothly and neither do the l i v e s of the characters in the novel. Conclusion It  seems s i g n i f i c a n t that the writers of contemporary B r i t i s h  f i c t i o n discussed here a l l employ the device of a demonic figure  (or  figures) as central in their works, and that these figures tend to be e v i l and mechanical in their perpetration of acts of violence.  The  c o l d , c l i n i c a l , routine way violence is depicted in these novels d i f f e r s from the way in which violence was depicted in previous l i t e r a r y eras. The change from the seemingly more spontaneous violence in e a r l i e r works (which was carried out by red-blooded characters with  identifiable  human emotions) to the colder variety depicted in contemporary works, seems indicative of our modern climate in general.  We l i v e in a world  in which psychopathy seems to be on the increase and humanism on the wane.  Burgess does not, however, l i m i t state violence to the "modern  age."  He points out, through the films shown in Alex's conditioning  process, that there has always been plenty of violence from b i b l i c a l days to the Second World War.  However, these h i s t o r i c a l contexts show  man's addiction to an ever-increasing, more h o r r i f i c use of violence, and i t  is  the  effectiveness and soullessness of modern violence which  seems to disturb him most.  67.  As man makes way for machines, he in turn becomes more machine-like, and violence seems to be one of the most potent ways of reacting and trying to prove one's human existence. his A Clockwork Orange, notes that "all  lewdies.  F. Alexander, in  . .were being turned  into machines and that they were r e a l l y - - y o u and me and him--more a natural  growth l i k e a f r u i t " ( p  0  124).  It  like  i s our naturalness which is  fast disappearing in contemporary l i f e ; as a consequence we are perhaps losing our humanity.  In f a c t , the i l l s of society seem to derive from  indulgence rather than deprivation: Alex's Utopia i s more than a result of suprapermissiveness and s e l f - g r a t i f i c a t i o n ; i t is the consequence of "original sin" inborn with every offspring of modern organizational leviathans. Having discovered that existence has always meant freedom, but never having been taught "goodness," Alex responds predictably and inevitably to the k i l l i n g burden of choice. S o c i a l l y , he and his "droogs" parody the formless, shadowy, omnipotent p o l i t i c a l entity that sports with them as they with "lewdies." This Kafkaesque i n f i n i t e regression is frightening. . .we are a l l , in some way or another, products of conditioning: tools to be manipulated and clockwork oranges whether we w i l l or no. 77 A l l the protagonists in these novels have had to bear "the k i l l i n g burden of choice"; i t violence occurs.  is as a result of their choices that  Carel chooses the Dasein of Heidegger's philosophy  (in which the s e l f i s made aware of the essential nothingness and aloneness of i t s brief existence) and relapses into despair at absurdity; his "evil spreads until  life's  his entire household is corrupted."  Leo chooses to "act" but his act is the cruel and heartless theft of the icon.  His action results in a violent squabble between Muriel and  Pattie and i t  i n d i r e c t l y culminates in C a r e l ' s s u i c i d e .  Dougal has the  choice of overcoming his "fatal flaw" and pursuing love or giving in to the dark, demonic side of his nature.  He chooses the l a t t e r and brings  68.  violence and chaos to Peckham Rye.  The Narrator of The Third Policeman  has a clear-cut choice: to rob or not to rob Mathers.  However, his  obsession with de Selby (his s e l f ) drives him not only to robbery but also to murder, and from thence to the horrible consequences of eternal  damnation. Alex has the least freedom of choice because he belongs to a  society which practices the same vices as he, but which h y p o c r i t i c a l l y punishes him for being v i o l e n t .  He could, perhaps, have chosen not to  follow the path of violence i n i t i a l l y , preprograms him into a violent  but his Nadsat culture more-or-less  pattern.  The degree of choice presented in the novels indicates the views of each author on the human condition.  Burgess has a darkly  pessimistic view of man's nature which is revealed in the inhumanity of a l l the characters in A Clockwork Orange: from the weakly v i c i o u s , revengeful old age pensioners in the l i b r a r y , to the mad piety of F. Alexander, and ultimately to Alex himself.  In A Clockwork Orange  no-one ever feels any g u i l t or remorse over any hurtful  action they  may have committed. Burgess's views seem to be echoed by O'Nolan for his Narrator in The Third Policeman i s an unrepentant and heinous k i l l e r who,  it  appears, w i l l be able to r e l i v e his murder of Mathers for e t e r n i t y , yet i t seems unlikely he w i l l ever suffer remorse or g u i l t for his crime. In  f a c t , his crime seems to have made l i t t l e impression on him. Neither does Dougal Douglas feel any g u i l t or remorse for  the havoc he creates in Peckham Rye.  Spark sketches a brief  life-  history of his doings a f t e r he leaves Peckham and he leaves behind him  69.  a t r a i l of nervous breakdowns, horror and chaos wherever he goes. Spark e v i d e n t l y believes i n the force of e v i l , i t s strength and p r o l i f e r a t i o n , and the ease with which human nature succumbs to i t s charms; Dougal embodies her b e l i e f . Murdoch has a d i f f e r i n g viewpoint on the concept of good and e v i l .  She portrays the contrast between the e v i l inherent i n a  b e a u t i f u l youth and his aging counterpart.  But while Leo shows no  sense of g u i l t over his t h e f t or his l i e s , Carel seems bowed down by the horror and despair engendered by what he has become. d e b i l i t a t i n g and d e s t r u c t i v e to those who those who s u f f e r i t s i n d i g n i t i e s . hopelessness  Evil is  practice i t as well as to  Murdoch shows the i n e v i t a b l e  of e v i l , i t s u l t i m a t e l y depressing and enervating  nature;  but she stresses the fact that not a l l of us are evil--we need a crutch, such as the beauty of nature or a r t , to aid us to f e e l love and to give us the s p i r i t u a l strength to see r e a l i t y .  Herein  lies  her major divergence from Burgess's Manichean viewpoint. These four novels provide us with comparable yet contrasting v i s i o n s of violence i n contemporary B r i t i s h l i t e r a t u r e .  They provide  a background of s i m i l a r s t r u c t u r a l elements against which to view the struggle between good and e v i l and i t s by-product, violence.  This  background incorporates the use of demonic f i g u r e s , a portrayal of the deadly e f f e c t s of s e l f - a b s o r p t i o n , and a s e t t i n g composed of mechanical and inverted worlds.  To some extent the four n o v e l i s t s  a l l employ elements of the surreal and the grotesque to create the most f e r t i l e environment f o r the imaginative expression of violence. Thus language also becomes a major thematic tool,,  70.  According to Fraser, "violence is usually the cutting edge 79 of ideas and ideologies,"  and this view, when transposed to  l i t e r a t u r e , seems to hold true for these four n o v e l i s t s .  Each time  violence occurs in the novels a clear thematic statement about the dark nature of mankind is being expressed. s a d i s t i c , is an attention-getting so effective  Violence, both sexual and  device and perhaps nothing else i s  in ensuring the reader's thoughtful  interest.  novelists point out that in our modern world in which i t  The  is only too  easy to succumb to technologically-induced desires and f a n t a s i e s , violence of the variety practiced by the outwardly charming, but essentially e v i l characters in these novels is increasing, because, in ever-growing numbers, we too are embarking upon a vicious cult of s e l f .  71.  Notes  1  John F r a s e r , V i o l e n c e i n t h e A r t s (London: Cambridge U n i v .  P r e s s , 1974), p 109. 2 F r a s e r , p. 10. 3 Robert S h o r t , Dada and S u r r e a l i s m (London: Octopus Books, 1980), p. 116. 4 F r a s e r , p. 63. 5 c  F r a s e r , p. 83. 6  John R u s s e l l , The Meanings o f Modern A r t : The Dominion o f  the Dream (New York: The Museum o f Modern A r t , 1975), V I I , 21. 7  Anna B a l a k i a n , Andre'' B r e t o n : Magus o f S u r r e a l i s m (New York:  O x f o r d U n i v . P r e s s , 1971), p, 83. 8  /  Andre B r e t o n , M a n i f e s t o e s o f S u r r e a l i s m , t r a n s . R. S e a v e r and H. R. L a s s e (Ann A r b o r : Univ, o f M i c h i g a n P r e s , 1969), p. 15. 9  10  B a l a k i a n , p„ 248. Anne C l i s s m a n , F l a n n O ' B r i e n : A C r i t i c a l I n t r o d u c t i o n t o  His W r i t i n g s : The S t o r y T e l l e r ' s Book Web ( D u b l i n : G i l l & M a c M i l l a n , 1975), p. 352. 11  C l i s s m a n , p. 352.  12  P h i l i p Thomson, The G r o t e s q u e , The C r i t i c a l Idiom S e r i e s ,  No. 24, e d . John D. Jump (London: Methuen & Co,., 1972), p. 11. 13 Thomson, p. 18.  72o  | t f  Peter L. Hays, The Limping Hero: Grotesque in  Literature  (New York: New York Univ. Press, 1971),  pp. 106-107. 15 Rubin Rabinovitz, "Iris Murdoch," In Six Contemporary B r i t i s h N o v e l i s t s , ed. George Stade (New York: Columbia Univ. P r e s s , 1976), p.  314.  1 6  Hays, p.  116.  1  Hays, p.  109.  Hays, p. 1g  110.  7  1 8  Muriel Spark, The Ballad of Peckham Rye (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1979), p. 18. text are taken from this  A l l further  references to the  edition.  Flann O'Brien, The Third Policeman (London: Pan Books, 1978)p. 157. from this 2 1  A l l further  references to the text are taken  edition.  I r i s Murdoch, The Time of the Angels (St. Albans:  Triad/Panther Books, 1978), p. 117.  A l l further references to  the text are taken from this e d i t i o n . Anthony Burgess. A Clockwork Orange (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1972), p. 26. A l l further references to the 2 2  text are taken from t h i s e d i t i o n . 23 Thomson, p. 3. 2 4  I r i s Murdoch, The Sovereignty of Good (Rout!edge & Kegan  Paul, 1970), p. 52.  73.  25  Murdoch, p  0  51.  26 Geoffrey Aggler, Anthony Burgess: The A r t i s t as Novelist (Alabama: Univ. of Alabama Press, 1979), p. 2 7  Aggler, p. 28.  2  Short, pp. 160-161.  8  28.  29 Murdoch, pp. 64-65. 30 David Hoi brook, "The Connection Between Sex and Violence, Contemporary Review, 221 (Sept. 1972), p. 3 1  142.  J . C. C. Mays, "Brian O'Nolan: L i t e r a l i s t of the  Imagination," In Myles: Portraits  of Brian O'Nolan, ed. Timothy  O'Keefe (London: Martin, Brian and O'Keefe, 1973), pp. 91-92. Op  Anne Clissman comes to the same conclusion: "The c i r c u l a r nature of the hell in which the hero endures is s i m i l a r to that envisioned by Sartre in his play Huis Clos.  . .  'many of the plays in the Theatre of the Absurd have a c i r c u l a r structure, ending exactly as they began"'(p. 3 3  Shirley Chew, "Mr. Livedog's Day: The Novels of Anthony  Burgess," Encounter, 38 (June 1972), p. 59. Chew, p. 59. Clissman, p. 170. 3 4 3 5  3 6  Rabinovitz, p.  315.  Rabinovitz, p.  313.  Rabinovitz, p.  313.  37  3  8  354).  1  74.  39  Rabinovitz, p.  315.  40 Malcolm Bradbury, "Muriel Spark's F i n g e r n a i l s , " C r i t i c a l Quarterly,  14 (Autumn, 1972), p.  250.  41 David Gascoyne, A Short Survey of Surrealism (London: Frank Cass & C o . , 1970), p. 3. 42 c  R u s s e l l , p. 29.  43 Robert K. Morris, The Consolations of Ambiguity: An Essay on the Novels of Anthony Burgess (Columbia: Univ. of Missouri Press, 1971), p.  74.  44 Bradbury, p. 4  5  Aggler, p.  243.  173.  46 Gascoyne, p. 61.  Breton defines the term 'Surrealism'  "pure psychic automatism," based on the "superior" r e a l i t y of a s s o c i a t i o n , the power of the dream and disinterested  thought,  this way, surrealism frees the imagination and allows us to perceive a clearer or truer r e a l i t y . 4  7  Short, p.  160.  4  8  Short, p.  160.  49 ^ R u s s e l l , p. 21. R u s s e l l , p. 21. 5 0  5 1  E. K. Rose, "Iris Murdoch, Informally," The London  Magazine (June 1968), p. 66. 5 2  Rabinovitz, p. 314  5  Hays, p.  3  140.  75.  Hays, p. 93.  5 4  55 Clissman, p. 163. 56 Clissman, p. 165. 57 Fraser, p 5  0  168.  Graham Martin, " I r i s Murdoch and the Symbolist Novel,"  8  B r i t i s h Journal of Aesthetics, 5 (1965), p. 298. Scott Dawson, "On A r t , Morals and Religion: Some  5 9  Reflections on the Work of I r i s Murdoch," Religious Studies, 14 (1978), p. 517. 6  Clissman, p. 157.  0  6 1  Short, p. 73.  6  Clissman, p* 180.  2  CO  Gascoyne, p. 60. 6  4  Morris, p. 71.  6  5  Short, p. 70.  6  6  Anthony Burgess, Language Made Plain (New York: Crowall,  1965), p. 163. 6  7  Burgess, p„ 8.  6  8  Aggler, p. 170.  6  9  Aggler, p. 170.  7  0  Morris, p. 69.  7 1  Morris, pp. 69-70.  7  2  Morris, p. 57.  7  3  Aggler, p. 173,  76 o  Balakian, p. Mays, p.  92.  109.  Clissman, pp. 174-175. Morris, p.  70.  Rabinovitz, p„ 315. Fraser, p.  162.  77o  Bibliography  Aggler, Geoffrey. Anthony Burgess: The A r t i s t as Novelist. Alabama: The Univ. of Alabama Press, 1979. Balakian, Anna. Andre^Breton: Magus of Surrealism. Oxford Univ. Press, 1971. Bienien, Henry. Violence and Social Change. Univ. Press, 1968.  New York:  Chicago: Chicago  B i l e s , Jack I. "Interview with I r i s Murdoch," Studies in the Literary Imagination, 11, No. 2 (1978), 115-125. Bradbury, Malcolm. "Muriel Spark's Fingernails," Quarterly, 14 (Autumn 1972), 241-250. Breton, Andre . 7  Manifestoes of Surrealism.  and H„ R. Lasse. Burgess, Anthony.  Critical  Trans. R. Seaver  Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press, 1969.  Language Made P l a i n .  New York: Crowall,  1965.  . A Clockwork Orange. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1972. Chew, S h i r l e y . "Mr. Livedog's Day: The Novels of Anthony Burgess," Encounter, 38 (June 1972), 57-64. Clayburgh, Arthur. Press, 1965.  The Grotesque in L i t e r a t u r e .  Oxford: Clarendon  Clissman, Anne. Flann O'Brien: A C r i t i c a l Introduction to His Writings: The Story T e l l e r ' s Book Web. Dublin: G i l l & MacMillan, 1975. Dawson, Scott. "On A r t , Morals and Religion: Some Reflections on the Work of I r i s Murdoch," Religious Studies, 14 (Dec. 1978), 515-534. Fraser, John. Violence in the Arts. Press, 1974.  London: Cambridge Univ.  Gascoyne, David. A Short Survey of Surrealism. & C o . , 1970. Hamilton, Alex.  London: Frank Cass  "Muriel Spark," Guardian, 8 Nov. 1974, p.  10.  78.  Hays, Peter L. The Limping Hero: Grotesque in Literature. New York: New York Univ. Press, 1971. Hoi brook, David. "The Connection Between Sex and Violence," Contemporary Review, 221 (Sept. 1972), 142-145. Kermode, Frank, "Diana of the Crossroads," New Statesman, 4 June, 1976, pp. 746-747. Martin, Graham. "Iris Murdoch and the Symbolist Novel," B r i t i s h Journal of Aesthetics, 5 (1965), 298, Matthews, J . H. Surrealism and the Novel, of Michigan Press, 1966,  Ann Arbor: Univ.  Mays, J . C. C. "Brian O'Nolan: L i t e r a l i s t of the Imagination," In Myles: Portraits of Brian O'Nolan. Ed. Timothy O'Keefe. London: Martin, Brian & O'Keefe, 1973. Morris, Robert K. The Consolations of Ambiguity: An Essay on the Novels of Anthony Burgess. Columbia: Univ. of Missouri Press, 1971. Murdoch, I r i s . "The Sublime and the Good," The Chicago Review, 13 (Autumn 1959), 42-55, .  "Against Dryness," Encounter, 15 No. 1 (Jan. 1961),  16-20. „  The Sovereignty of Good.  London: Bowes & Bowes, 1961.  . The Time of the Angels, S t . Albans: Triad/Panther Books, 1978, O'Brien, Flann. The Third Policeman, London: Pan Books, 1978. Rabinovitz, Rubin. "Iris Murdoch," In Six Contemporary B r i t i s h Novelists. Ed, George Stade. New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1976. Restak, Richard. "The Origins of Violence," Saturday Review, 12 May, 1979, pp. 16-19. Robinson, Robert and Anthony Burgess. "On Being a Lancashire C a t h o l i c , " Listener, 96 (30 Sept. 1976), 397-399.  79.  Rose, E. K. "Iris Murdoch, Informally," The London Magazine (June 1968), 65-66. R u s s e l l , John. The Meanings of Modern Art: The Dominion of the Dream. V o l . VII. New York: The Museum of Modern A r t , 1975. Saunders, Trevor J . "Plato's Clockwork Orange," Durham Univ. Journal (June 1976), 113-117. Short, Robert.  Dada and Surrealism.  London: Octopus Books, 1980.  Spark, Muriel. The Ballad of Peckham Rye„ Penguin Books, 1979.  Harmondsworth:  Stubbs, P a t r i c i a . "Two Contemporary Views on F i c t i o n : I r i s Murdoch and Muriel Spark," E n g l i s h , 23 (Autumn 1974), 102-110. Thomson, P h i l p . The Grotesque. The C r i t i c a l Idiom S e r i e s , No. 24. Ed. John D. Jump. London: Methuen & C o . , 1972, Toynbee, P h i l i p and Muriel Spark. 7 Nov. 1971, pp. 73-74.  "Muriel Spark," Observer,  Weiner, P h i l i p P. and John Fisher, eds. Violence and Aggression in the History of Ideas. New Brunswick: N. J . Rutgers Univ. Press, 1974.  


Citation Scheme:


Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics



Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            async >
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:


Related Items