A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess


               My final book blog post for my sophomore year is called A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. It is set in the future, where the general public has become unaware of a growing, violent youth culture in which the past times of teenagers include beating up harmless people, harassing women, gang fights, and stealing; the ultraviolence. The story follows Alex, a teenager who speaks in an obscure, Russian-influenced slang called Nadsat, and his recounts of doing the ultraviolence along with his gang, and the consequences of it.

                Alex is your typical teenager of the future: he’s in a gang with his droogs, drinks drug-infused moloko at the Korova Milk Bar, harasses ptistsas, and tolchoks vecks for fun.

                If you didn’t think that anything was wrong in that sentence, then we have a problem.

                First of all, the language. What is that strange-looking dialect? Well, it’s called Nadsat, the teenage slang of the future, influenced by Russian. To the adults in this book, Nadsat is a language they do not understand, which is a factor as to why the adults have grown unaware of the rising numbers of violent acts on the streets. One thing that makes this book interesting is its language. According to Burgess’s introduction of the book, he wanted the teenagers to have a slang that is different from when he wrote it (1960’s) so the language wouldn’t become dated (which is a pretty genius and creative idea, in my opinion)

                Second, what the sentence is actually saying. Once you have the Nadsat under your belt, you realize what the sentence actually means. Alex is a violent teenager who does unlawful acts for entertainment. The story is told in Alex’s point-of-view, and he describes what he does as fun, and common. In most first-person books, we tend to cheer on the narrator throughout the whole book. Well, not in this one. There are times where Alex takes delight in doing violent acts, such as beating people up. It is an interesting perspective, to be looking through the eyes of a protagonist who can pass as an antagonist in the general public’s eye. And this is just the first part of the book.

                But before you write off this book for praising such a horrid act as violence, let me tell you something. Alex does get his consequence, and that’s where the main plot begins. This is not just a whole book about an obtuse teenager proclaiming his love for violence. It is much more than that.

                A Clockwork Orange is a book I would recommend to anyone, especially someone who is looking for a challenge. From deciphering the Nadsat (or they have online dictionaries for it, too!), to pondering about the meaning of the title, to choosing which side you are on in the main question behind the book, A Clockwork Orange is a story you will never forget.

                If you guys have any questions, feel free to post them below!



Views: 178

Comment by Cristina Mursuli on May 27, 2013 at 5:50pm

I tried reading this books a few years ago and it was definitely super confusing! I enjoyed it though and I think I may have to go back and reread to truly get the feel for this awesome story.

Comment by Jennie Yang on May 29, 2013 at 1:19pm

Every time one of my friends mentioned the book Clockwork Princess, I'd always joke and ask, "Is that the sequel to Clockwork Orange?

Yeah, I've heard of this book before, thanks to scholastic bowl, but the best I could do was "Blah blah blah Name this book, written by Anthony Burgess" Buzz "Clockwork Orange." I had no idea that the book was this complicated or convoluted or...awesome sounding. I'm seriously interested in reading this book now, because it just sounds crazy.

Comment by Sam Yim on May 29, 2013 at 4:36pm

I actually received this book as a gift a little while ago, I just haven't gotten around to reading it... But I think Burgess' idea of the future is interesting to say the least. Having a protagonist that the reader doesn't want to win is cool too. Your blog's definitely motivated me to read it!

Comment by Sophia Peng on May 29, 2013 at 9:11pm

I remember reading this book two years ago and being just about the most confused person you've ever met when I first started, but as you went through everything started to make more and more sense and by the end you were all "Oh yeah, good ol' hit of that ultra violence!" The movie is pretty alright if you want to see what that's all about (I think it's on Netflix).

Comment by Gregor Wettermann on May 30, 2013 at 5:22pm

I've heard a lot about this, especially the film, but I haven't taken the time to look up what it actually is.  Thanks for enlightening me, it does sound quite interesting.  

Comment by Hyoin Sung on May 30, 2013 at 10:13pm

This book sounds really different and interesting! It sounds crazy and violent, which is out of my comfort zone for books but it would a cool experience. I will definitely pick this book up!

Comment by Junilane L. on May 30, 2013 at 10:21pm
To Chris: the sentences are pretty much structured like that, but don't let that discourage you from reading the book. The "slang words" are repeated so often that it is easy to catch on after reading a few chapters.
Comment by Mackenzie Cox on June 3, 2013 at 1:37pm

I saw you reading this and it looked kind of interesting but, now that you have explained it it sounds like a great book! Thanks for sharing! :)


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