A central theme in Stanley Kubrick's film A Clockwork Orange is what causes violence and hate. Alex, the main character, is cold and evil. Though he is the protagonist, as well as the narrator, and overall, the person we become most involved with in the film, his mind is so warped that we cannot always see why he does the things he does.

At some points in the movie we see Alex seemingly trying to reform (i.e. when Alex is in prison, he tells the priest that he wants the rest of his life to be "a single act of goodness.") Is Alex really trying to reform? We don't know. He may be lying in an attempt to escape the prison, or he may be sincerely expressing a desire to change himself and become what is expected of him by the powers that be.

It is easy to claim that Alex is lying. After all, he is such a sick and twisted individual that we almost write off any kind thing he says as a lie. But at the end of the story, we can no longer be so sure. All of Alex's victims, who we pitied at the beginning, inflict suffering upon the then defenseless Alex in ways worse than he inflicted upon them. The politicians who wanted to "cure" Alex use him to keep their popularity and power. Suddenly, everyone is evil, there is no place to hide, and we have to see Alex's actions with a new perspective.

Sometimes we almost feel sympathy for him. A poor child, growing up in a violent world. Savage and brutal, but merely a product of his civilization.

The lesson of A Clockword Orange is that before we condemn the actions of our children, we should examine our own morals. Before we claim that kids today are more evil, more hate-filled, and more likely to shoot up a school, we must remember that children are a product of the civilization they grew up in. We can't entirely blame them for we are also to blame.