One thing really stood out to me while reading this section of the book. especially what occurs in the first chapter. I saw a lot of similarities between the doctors in A Clockwork Orange and the doctors in the mental hospital here. We see the doctors performing this new procedure on the patients in the hospital (specifically Alice) that involves implanting needles into someone’s brain and using radio waves to control their emotions. The patients, who are supposed to be the “insane” people, are the only ones that offer sane criticism to this procedure. The doctors are crazily performing this procedure in front of recording cameras, unaware of the emotional distress this is causing to Alice, who knows exactly what’s going on.
What’s even more creepy is how the doctors rationalize this procedure. Instead of actively trying to help the patient get better and rehabilitate themselves, they believe the way to “cure” a mental patient is to actively control their mind and mold them into their own image of a “normal” person. It’s somewhat ironic that the doctors try to play with the emotions of the patient, when they themselves lack emotion for the crying Alice who says “Motherfucker, you let me up! I ain’t no guinea pig.” (Piercy 195) All of a sudden, with a switch of a radio, the doctors have completely changed Alice’s emotions, and can change it back and forth. “You see, we can electrically trigger almost every mood and emotion-the fight or flight reaction, euphoria, calm, pleasure, pain, terror!” (Piercy 196)
The reason this scene stood out to me so much was cause it reminded me so much of A Clockwork Orange. If you know the book or the movie, the main character Alex is living in a somewhat futuristic world where there is a major crime issue, and Alex is part of the youth that possesses this criminal behavior. When Alex gets arrested, he is sent to a facility that attempts to permanently change his emotional responses through a form of mind control. If you’ve seen the movie, I kind of think of that scene with the needles in the eyes when I read the scene with Alice in the mental hospital.