A CLOCKWORK ORANGE – Anthony Burgess | Best Classics

Anthony Burgess (1917-1993)
Type: Social satire


In addition to being a thief, fifteen-year-old Alex also commits murder and rape. He’s a total criminal.  Alex is particularly passionate about violence and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

He was able to get into a house through his gang members. There lived a couple, a wife whom he assaulted and a writer husband who was left psychologically broken.

Alex is eventually detained and imprisoned. The State Institution for the Reclamation of Criminal Types is where he receives medical care. While under the influence of drugs, Alex is indoctrinated to suppress his irrational want to commit violence by watching films that show gruesome deeds. He was also listening to Beethoven’s Ninth. Alex is now sick to his stomach at the mere thought of violence following the treatment. He’s free now that he’s a civilized person.

Not having been able to employ violence, he has finally lost his sense of freedom. Alex is shocked to discover that his gang members or as he calls them ‘droogs’ are now police officers. Fighting is impossible for Alex. He eventually reverts to his former behavior in order to reclaim his sense of independence and his desire for the ability to cause pain and misery. He has been reduced to becoming a mere machine or “clockwork orange.”

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