A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
"What will it be the eh?"
That lines repeats throughout the book and evolves ever as our dear little Alex.
However, what does it all mean? At first glace we have a book that is written in a strange language (dubbed nadsat) and find that, through Our Humble Narrator, that we have entered into something we may well not be able to understand.
Yet, as we plod along we discover that, through the actions of the characters, we can understand the language. In fact, there comes a time when we not longer need to glace back to be sure we understood and, in that sense, this book is genius. Though, it should be stated that even Burgess thought that his use of nadsat made it harder to drive at the point of this little book.
And what is that point exactly? Well, for those that have seen the movie and are coming to this book I will say you have a piece of it. This book is, after all, a tale of betrayal much akin to Shakespeare's "The Tragedy of Julius Ceaser." Indeed, we must watch as our little droog is taken from his top place as king of ultra-violence and placed in jail.
We see that his friends, his comrades, betray him with ease, leaving him alone to be caught. And then we watching as the state and the government and the police fail and betray him. Each taking a piece of him all in effort to make a sweet boy. Yet all the time we see this bit of ultra violence we must ask, how is it that this young boy could be an angel when he is so surrounded by demons?
Even his parents push him away, no longer wishing to deal with his abhorrent behavior.
Yet, it is in that last chapter that we see that, perhaps, our dear little Alex was not so bad. Perhaps her was simply young and, as such, prone to strike out against the world.
But then, must all those who are young be so violent? But of course, my brothers, because the system has failed and betrayed them. Their parents have failed and betrayed them. What is left to do but be opposite that until the day comes that one realizes that nothing has been done in those times. They have rebelled against nothing but rather had the knee-jerk reaction of a child.
That is a bit the movie, brilliant as it is (because, my brothers, all Kubrick movies are brilliant), missed. And perhaps leaving it open ended was a good choice. It showed the cycle and how it was never ending. It showed that those who fail and betray us may correct themselves, in a sense, but only when they too may be taken under.
Yet here we have a mortal. Here we have a light at the end of the tunnel. Something that ties it all together and, while not happy, at least it shows us that maybe there is a little bit of good to be had, even in dear little Alex. Perhaps we treat our criminals so severely that they have no choice but to remain as such and, if you look out at the world, maybe you see that "A Clockwork Orange" is holding up a mirror.
An odd thing, that is, eh droogie?
View all my reviews or buy it here A Clockwork Orange