A Clockwork Orange: Review

Recently, I had to read this novel for a college course: Post-War British Literature. It is a shame I haven’t read this before. It is such a classic book and film that I am surprised I have never read or seen it before. I have seen it now and Id like to share my thoughts about the book and film.

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Everyone has heard of A Clockwork Orange, whether you have read it or not. It is on all the lists of books you need to read before you die. The same can be said for the film by Stanley Kubrick. Before the British Literature course, I heard of A Clockwork Orange, but I never knew what it was about. The story was a mystery to me and to hear that it had controversy around it, I was interested in delving into it and understand why. After reading it, I understand why this was such a controversial story.

The story of A Clockwork Orange is about a dystopian world of Britain where youth can run rampant and commit a bit of “ultra-violence” every night. The story follows the protagonist, fifteen year old, Alex on his adventures with his “droogs” (friends) and committing a bit of the “shop-crasting” (robbing) and a bit of a violent “in-and-out” (raping). Eventually, Alex’s violent antics get him caught and sent to jail. In order to leave jail early, Alex agrees to take part in “The Ludovico Technique,” which is an aversion therapy that psychologically affects Alex when we witnesses or experiences violence. Alex is released from jail, prone to violent illness when he has thoughts of the violence he was akin to at the beginning of the novel. After he was released, everything went against him. His parents threw him out, he was beaten with an inch of his life from the police and became a toy within a bigger political agenda.

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My thoughts? Well, I thoroughly enjoyed it, as it was an engaging story. I liked following in the footsteps of a unique villain such as Alex. Anthony Burgess did a brilliant job of conveying the hopelessness within Alex’s world through the treatment of authority in the novel. He created a convincing dystopian world with an interesting main character. However, I did have a few problems with it.

 

First, the language of the novel.

Anthony Burgess created a new language for Alexand his droogs to speak in A Clockowork Orange which was called Nadsat. It is a Russian-influence English that is only spoken by the teenagers in Burgess’s novel. Burgess was a linguist and decided when writing the novel, to create his own language so it wouldn’t be outdated by the time the novel was published. Personally, I liked the language. When I listened to the audiobook version of A Clockwork Orange, I liked the sound of the Nadsat language such as “devotchka” (young woman), “gulliver” (head) and “moloko” (milk). There are many more examples within the novel and it represents the voice of Alex in the novel. However, I did find it difficult to translate when I first started reading it. I had to have a wiki in front of me so I could look up the meaning behind each word. It was difficult at first, but I adapted to it quite quickly and began to love it. The language makes what the novel, A Clockwork Orange, what it is. It represents the youth of this novel and it gives a perfect insight into Alex’s character. But I can understand why Stanley Kubrick’s film left out most of the Nadsat language.

Second, the violence.

Now, compared to the film, the violence in the book was necessary to portray the world Alex lived in and showcase how much of a callous person Alex was. However, I didn’t like the violent scenes within the book. There is a lot of rape and beatings in the novel that are quite graphic. They serve a purpose to the story, but I still didn’t appreciate some of the scenes within the novel.

Overall, A Clockwork Orange was an interesting read. My favourite part of reading this novel was to exploration of Alex as the protagonist. Throughout the novel, Alex commits deplorable acts of violence and doesn’t feel any empathy towards the people he hurts. There is a divided opinion on whether people feel sorry for Alex in the second half of the book where he gets punished for his misdeeds. Do you think he deserved and you didn’t feel sorry for him or do you think that the punishments put on him were too much?

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Personally, I didn’t feel sorry for Alex throughout the second half of the book. I felt that he deserved everything that came to him. However, I did feel sorry for him during two instances. One was when he couldn’t sleep because of the affects of the Ludivocko treatment and when his parents threw him out. Even though he is a terrible human being, he was still a teenager and in the end, he needed his parents in that moment when he got out of jail. I don’t condone his character and I believe he deserved all the misfortune he got. However, Burgess does a great job at portraying this character is a despicable way and in the end, provide him with a hopeful ending.

A Clockwork Orange was a great read and got me thinking of my FYP. The thought of criminals and heroes in literature strike me in this novel and I am currently writing an essay about this novel in relation to the representation of heroes. Unfortunately, I don’t have a clear answer to this question, especially in relation to Alex in A Clockwork Orange. It is an interesting concept though and I feel A Clockwork Orange would make an interesting case study. If you are interested in looking into this story, give it a read or watch the Stanley Kubrick’s film.  Personally, I prefer the book.

 

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On Hold

Writing has been slow. Actually, I lie. It has not moved at all. I have been passionate about this novel idea for the past several months. However, I have been unable to buckle down with my pen and paper to write it down. Begin this journey that I have been dying to do. But everything gets in the way.

 

First, my final year project (FYP).

 

I got the idea for my novel in the cusp of writing my FYP. I had no time to stop my project to write this idea I have. So I pushed it off. I have been taking down notes and slowly planning my novel. But I didn’t plan that much. My FYP took up all of my time, my energy and my passion. If this project is meant to be the major part of my final grade this semester, I will work my hardest to get the best grade I can. So 99.9% of my attention has been on my FYP until I submitted it on March 1st.

 

Second, the last half of my college semester.

 

After my FYP was submitted, i took a week of rest where I could relax and enjoy the peace. However, that didn’t mean the work stopped. The rest of the semester came and the rest of the assignments came with it. Essay after essay after essay have been piling on and I haven’t had time since my FYP has been finished. Ah well, the work has to be done and I don’t have long left before I am finished for the semester.

 

Lastly, my final year of college.

 

I cant believe it has been 4 years already. It went so fast and met so many incredible people. I only have 2 weeks left in college and 1 more exam, then I am finished. I am graduating and that is an odd sensation or fact to comprehend. Life will go on but Ill miss those college days. I truly met some amazing people and I hope to keep them in my life as we all achieve success in our careers. So it has been a strange year for me as my college days come to the end. I hope to be back to do a Masters next year but it wont be the same. My focus is currently working hard to get the best grades so I can continue my studies in my Masters degree.

My novel has been put on hold until I can sort out my college first. I will be finished in 2 to 3 weeks so I hope to start up my novel then. I hope to finish my planning and start writing very soon after college finishes. I hope to have you on this journey with me. But for now, Ill post more stuff on my blog. Word on the novel wont come until the summertime. Stay tuned for the blogs I will be posting for the next few weeks and let me know what you think. Until next time, I hope to see you there.

Pen to Paper

In recent years, it seems a common thread has disappeared, the use of a pen to paper. As a writer, I used the traditional way of creating my stories, with a notebook and pen. It was the conventional way to write novels and poems. However, I have seen more and more times where writers have exchanged the use of a pen for typing on a laptop. Whatever works for you when it comes to writing your work, go for it. But I do feel like we have lost touch with the traditional ways of writing with the new use of technology. Recently, I went to a March event with Stanzas. Stanzas is the writing group I go to every month where you share your works with many people (more info about Stanzas in my previous posts). Anyway, I went to a Stanzas event, and I remember someone going up to the mic and saying they had written down their poem instead of on their phone. It has become a standard thing in Stanzas with people having their stories/poetry written on their phones, and they speak through the microphones with their eyes glued to their phones. Even one of the head of Stanzas mentioned this at one of the events. It was nice to see someone read from paper instead of reading off a tablet or phone. It is the same with reading. More and more people read books on Kindle or online, instead of just holding a book in their hands.

Don’t get me wrong; I like the use of technology. I even use it to transfer my stories from paper onto a different medium. I plan to write a story on the perspective of social media or the use of it on paper. I love the use of technology in other mediums, especially in different mediums of storytelling. I love elements of texting and social media in films such as Personal Shopper:

 

Or Unfriended:

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and many more. Technology is a part of our psyche as a community. We use it to communicate our thoughts and emotions and to connect with others. It is a valuable tool for the new wave of storytellers. That is a very interesting evolution foir writers and civilization in general. However, I will always prefer my pen to scribble my ideas on paper before I use my computer or phone. What do you guys think? Are you an old-fashioned writer like me or do you write all your stories on your technological devices?