Review: A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

Horrorshow raskazz with lashings of ultraviolence! clockwork

A Clockwork Orange is a modern classic. Published in 1962, it depicts a frightening dystopian future where youths hopped up on drugs run riot in the streets and terrorise people in their own homes. Alex, our humble narrator, is one of those youths.  Even though it is obvious he knows better, he is determined to continue on his merry way wreaking havoc with his droogs (friends), until they set him up and he is sent to prison. Alex undertakes an unusual and horrifying form of ‘therapy’ which makes him physically unable to perform or even think about acts of violence and is unceremoniously discharged from prison and left to fend for himself.

This novel raises some important questions about the matters of free will and choice. Is it morally ethical to remove a person’s ability to choose their own behaviour? How about when it means they will cease to commit acts of violence against others? Clearly the message this novel conveys is that is unethical to remove a person’s free will. I almost began to feel sorry for Alex when he was first released from prison and was unable to defend himself, but I soon got over that when he went straight back to his old ways as soon as he was able to.

The Final Chapter

My edition does contain the final chapter which is missing from many versions, as well as Stanley Kubrick’s film. I found it to be a bit of let down. I liked the idea of Alex deciding to change his ways, but thought the way he reached his decision was a bit unbelievable. It didn’t gel with anything we’d heard from him previously to just up and decide to be good for no other reason besides he wants a wife and child one day. Of course, I believe anyone can change, but there usually needs to be some kind of motivating event. Like maybe an actual wife and child.

Besides from that, it’s a must read. The made up language, nadsat, can be difficult to get into. I found this nadsat dictionary very useful for the first few chapters, but it is quite easy to get into the hang of it.

EDIT 24/02/16

I forgot to include my David Bowie song to match A Clockwork Orange. Obviously it’s Girl Loves me!

 


Description

“What we were after was lashings of ultraviolence.”

In this nightmare vision of youth in revolt, fifteen-year-old Alex and his friends set out on a diabolical orgy of robbery, rape, torture and murder. Alex is jailed for his teenage delinquency and the State tries to reform him – but at what cost?

Social prophecy? Black comedy? A study of free will? A Clockwork Orange is all of these. It is also a dazzling experiment in language, as Burgess creates “nadsat”, the teenage slang of a not-too-distant future.

Details

Title: A Clockwork Orange

Author: Anthony Burgess

Published: 1962

ISBN: 0241951445 (ISBN13: 9780241951446)

Genre: Classics, Sci Fi, Dystopia, Literature

Pages: 141

Source: Own Copy

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Book Depository (Free Shipping Worldwide)

Goodreads

This book is part of the David Bowie Reading Challenge #DBowieBooks

Books Read: 4/100

1984

The Great Gatsby

The Gnostic Gospels

A Clockwork Orange

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13 thoughts on “Review: A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

  1. I read this a few years ago and was equally surprised by the ending! But it is a classic. BTW I am really intrigued by your Bowie book challenge. We live in Sundridge Park, Bromley, south London, round the corner from the house where Bowie lived age 8-18. I love to think of him reading some of those books in that very house! Bronte Turner

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I read this way back in high school during the late 90’s. The last chapter is pretty stupid, and really out of place. The funny thing is that my English teacher at the time seemed a little bothered that I was reading it. However, to the best of my knowledge, she know runs the English department at my old high school where they now use this book in the classroom. Unfortunately, it is with the last chapter. They teach it as a tale of redemption. I nearly doubled over laughing when I heard they were doing that. Amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

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