1000 Books In 10 Years; Vol. 165: A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess

Anthony Burgess’s masterful work, A Clockwork Orange, tells the tales of a violent hooligan who; steals, rapes and murders and who, at the ripe age of 15 finds himself serving a 14 year prison sentence.  Two years into his sentence he is given an opportunity to get out early, if he agrees to undergo an experimental treatment, a treatment which will condition his body to respond negatively to violent thoughts and crimes, in turn forcing him to be a model, law-abiding citizen.  There is of course the question of choice.  Because he physically cannot commit an act of violence he is not able to choose good over bad, but simply is impelled toward good.  The question of choice borrows heavily from John Milton’s ‘Areopagitica’, which was a tract against censorship, and it also borrows heavily from Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan (you know, the weak masses submitting to tyrannical rule so that they need not fear their neighbours), and it is written in faux slag known as nadsat, a combination of English and Russian spoken in a Shakespearean structure.  Though the protagonist is a despicable, unrelatable character, he remains interesting and fun to read in the context of this political satire, and it is a satire that remains relevant today.

Rambler About Rambler

Jason John Horn is a writer and critic who recently completed his Master's in English Literature at the University of Windsor. He has composed a play, a novella and a number of short stories and satirical essays.

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