A Clockwork Orange

I think that A Clockwork Orange is a book worth reading because it is relatable, makes you think, and is interesting. The author, Anthony Burgess, was born February 25, 1917. At the young age of two his mother passed away. He was brought up by his aunt and later his stepmother. Even with such an unstable childhood Burgess continued on to enroll in college and major in English. He had a passion for music, which he expressed in the main character of A Clockwork Orange. Burgess wrote several accomplished symphonies in his day, as well as over fifty books. He was diagnoses with a brain tumor at about age 40 but well outlived his doctors expectations continuing his artistic output until his death from lung cancer at age 76.
A Clockwork Orange was claimed by many to be Burgess’s greatest accomplishment. The main character, Alex, is a young teen with a drive for violence, rape and general rebellion without remorse, yet he still has a charming intelligent quality. The law finally catches him and he is convicted of murder and sentenced to 14 years in prison. After two years he becomes aware of a route to early release and after killing a cellmate he is elected (almost voluntarily) to be the first to travel it. However, the process is not at all what he expected it to be. He soon finds himself being subjected to immoral films and induced illness to condition him to become ill at even the thought of a “bad” act. When conditioning is complete, Alex is released into the world alone without free-will and feels so tormented he is committed to ending it all. He fails to complete the job, wakes up in a hospital, and finds the mental barriers gone and a pity dream job is handed to him to compensate for the emotional damage.
A Clockwork Orange had a loose theme of the necessity of not only good, but also evil in human nature. Alex may have been selfish and deviant but his character and the characters like him did seem to have a strong grasp on the concept that life was for living. Without the ability of choice to commit evil acts which was an impulse inside of him, his ability to act human was affected. The freedom of making these choices seems to be what makes us human. Hence without this freedom he is driven to attempt suicide.
The major theme of the novel was a battle of the greater importance of a safe stable society or greater importance of free-will. The main character had been conditioned to feel ill at the thought of bad acts, he had not however been conditioned to not wish to commit these acts. After viewing the presentation of the “successful” conversion from evil to “good, where rather than fight Alex licked the man’s shoe, the prison Chaplin stated, “Self interest, the fear of physical pain drove him to do that grotesque act of self-abasement. Its insincerity was clearly to be seen. He ceases to be a wrongdoer. He ceases also to be a creature capable of moral choice. So, is it better to be morally right without free-will or be immoral but have free-will? The minister of interior argued, We are not concerned with motives, with the higher ethics. We are concerned only with cutting down crime and with relieving the ghastly congestion in our prisons.” In the end it was clear that taking away such liberties as free-will was dangerous and inhumane.
The concept of free-will has appeal universally, for those who have it are aware of its importance in happiness. The novel is very relatable on a lager note also, by how it emphasizes questioning authority. Mr. Alexander, for example, was almost a ringleader in this area even though many of the injustices did not affect him. When asked why he cared so much he stated, The common people will let it go. Oh yes, they’ll sell liberty for a quieter life. That is why they must be led, sir, driven. The idea of a corrupt government or a government that doesn’t seem to be able to function in an appealing way is a VERY relatable topic now and will be as long as forms of government exist. This is because governments play a large role in the way our life is lived and the quality in which we are able to live it. It is only right to question their actions as they directly affect us. In A Clockwork Orange, the governments tactics on creating a safer society were questioned. The concept as a whole can be related to million of situations all around the world.
The novel also made you think. A lot of the concepts and ideas that needed to be grasped while reading it were beneath the surface of words. One such thing is the main character’s love of music and his lifes dependence on it, even though ironically, it drove him to attempt suicide. Even while committing brutal acts such as beating, he is singing almost as if he did not see the reality in the situation. His lack of reality is clear when he states while watching a conditioning movie involving violence, “It’s funny how the colors of the real world only seem real when you viddy (slang for see) them on the screen.”
It is the story of an anti-hero that youre rooting for but youre not sure why.
saources: A clockwork orange and spark notes

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