Thursday, July 23, 2009
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Title: A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
How it was obtained: I purchased it from the local bookstore in Elkins.
Time spent on the "to read" shelf: 0 days.
Days spent reading it: 3 days.
Why I read it: I enjoy dystopian society novels, like 1984 and A Brave New World. I heard that A Clockwork Orange was in the same vein, so I checked it out.
A Clockwork Orange was a great gem for me to discover. While it can be compared to the types of worlds described in 1984 and A Brave New World, this novel stands on its own for me. I loved the main character of Alex and we are in his mind during the whole novel.
Esentially this book asks one question: What if we could solve all crime committed by humans, but the cost was our free choice? Would the price be too high ? In this novel, Alex is a juvenile punk, and when he gets caught in the act of breaking into a home, he is sent away to prison. While there he is offered a treatment that will get him out of jail in 2 weeks. He takes it, but in the process loses his ability to act out in violence. He gets physically sick when he thinks about hurting someone. He also loses his love for music (one of his few redeeming qualities before his incarceration). He then revisits his previous life, but there are some surprises in store for him as he encounters people who he attacked or knew from his earlier life.
I love how this book explores the big ideas of good and evil as they are presented in humanity. I love how it explores freedom and bondage. I love how the themes could be taught in a theology class and not miss a beat, and a theology class would be all the richer for it. Is this book for everyone? No way. The language is difficult (Burgess made up a kind of teenage slang for the book) and the events include senseless violence and sexuality. But for those willing to get past the first few pages of slang (which oddly enough actually mutes the violence and sexuality present in the pages), the book opens up into a wonderful treat that is both entertaining and philosophical.
Favorite quote: "What does God want? Does God want goodness or the choice of goodness? Is a man who chooses the bad perhaps in some way better than a man who has the good imposed upon him? Deep and hard questions little 6655321."
Stars: 5 out of 5.
Final Word: Liberating.