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.
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!