A Clockwork Orange by Antony Burgees(written 1962)1, Summary: The story is set in the seventies. The leading character and also the narrator is Alex, a very violent and cruel 15 year old boy. He and his friends Georgie, Pete and Dim murder, rob, torture and rape for fun. Alex is the leader of their gang. Alex and his friends arrive at an old cottage in the countryside and play a trick. Dim pretends to be wounded and an ambulance is very necessary.
The trick works out, when the women opens the door the four rush in and torture her and her husband till they are lying on the floor. Then they leave the house. Alex loves Ludwig van Beethoven. Each time when he listen to his music he sees people who are murdered and woman who are raped.
When he meets his friends he notices that there is some kind of tension between them. Then the start a new tour were they find a great house for playing a trick. They play the same trick but at that time the old woman in the house is suspicious and doesn’t open the door. So Alex goes alone through the window.
While he steals some things, the woman phones the police. As they meet each other they start fighting. Alex quite kills the old lady and the police arrest him. He is found guilty for murder and should go to prison for fourteen years. After almost two years in prison he hears about a new program which is called “Ludovico’s technique”. It is supposed to change bad into good.
So he volunteers for the program. They choose him and take him to a room where he has to see very cruel films, for example Japanese torture or the crimes of the Nazis. In some films they also play the music of Beethoven. He has to see two films per day and also gets injections. The injections makes him feel intense pain all in his body. As the time came when Alex only associates pain with the violent lifestyle he has, he is released.
He enters a world which has totally changed since his arrest. He goes to the library and there he sits next to a man who he has violated before his arrest. The man attacks him. When the policeman came he notices that the two policemen are Dim and Billyboy.
In the past Billyboy has been a leader of another gang which he has hated. They both beat him too. He manages to get to a house where the man is very helpful. Alex tells him the story about the Ludovico’s technique and about the two policemen. The man has been the husband of the wife Alex and his friends have killed. The man takes him to a room where Alex hears loud music of Beethoven.
The man has read about the treatment in the news so he knew how to hurt him. Alex can’t stand the pain and jumps through the window. His suicide attempt is made public. After leaving the hospital he meets with the third member of his old gang, Pete who now has a family and is living a socially acceptable life. Now he realises that he is mature and something is missing in his life and so he decides to start a new life.
2, Personal Comment: When I began reading “A Clockwork Orange” I found it difficult and frustrating to read. The language which is used in the book is at first a bit annoying. It takes a while to figure it out but I found a Nadsat, English dictionary at the homepage of Clockwork orange so I could look the words up. I think it is very well written because Burgees writes like he is in the age of Alex, a teenager. The story is a little bit weird but in most cases it is realistic.
It’s a brilliant book about moral and violence but I think the ending is a bit out of place if you compare it to the rest of the book. I would highly recommend it to everyone who is interested in bad future prospects like “Brave New