A Review of A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

Alex is a 15 year old hooligan out with his gang on a cool winter night. They go to a local milk plus bar where they can order milk laced with drugs.

Alex lives in a dystopian world where the government is lax with their law enfircement, instead allowing its youth to run wild and cause all the mischief they want in order to keep its citizens in a state of fear. Scared citizens are like sheep, easily manipulated.

On the particular evening, Alex and his gang take drugs to “sharpen their senses” and make them more violent. Their night consists of beating an old man, robbing a store and beating its occupants, and rape, also known as “ultra violence”.

This book is broken up into 3 parts. The first part chronicles Alex’s horrendous actions, the second his subsequent capture and “rehabiliation”, and the third is the results of all of this.

This book is a social commentary on communism, youth, and government manipulation. It is a social experiment on whether a man is a man if he is stripped of his free will.

I have had a really hard time deciding if I like this book or not. The first few chapters are a nightmare because the teens speak a language called nadsat, which is a mixture of British and Russian slang. Eventually you begin to pick up on the different words as they are used in context and repeated but it makes the first few chapters almost unreadable. Then the imagery of torture and violence is very graphic and to see a boy do such terrible things with no conscience is disturbing. By the end of the book I had a stronger grasp of the message but I still don’t know whether I liked the journey getting there.