Back again with another classic! I know you're probably disappointed this isn't a video rather than a blog post...again! I did film a haul video to be fair but I hated how it turned out because I was out of practice! I'd love to say that I'll film this week but I will be filming for work not for YouTube, sorry! So like I keep promising, I AM going to go back to YouTube, I have some ideas and stuff for videos too, I'm gonna be getting rid of Wrap Up videos because I have no fun filming them at all, and I just repeat myself from TBR videos! I'm thinking I'm gonna focus more on some rec videos, because I have an idea for a series of them that I think you'll like and I'm hoping no-ones done it before! Anywaaaaay, on with the post and talk about the Classic...like I'm supposed to be doing!
I'm still trying to decide what kind of rating I'd give this, I'm differing between whether I'd give it a three or a four. I wouldn't say it's my favourite one yet, but it's not bottom of the pile either! I think I struggled with reading this because of the language but then it works so well for the book at the same time!
A Clockwork Orange is all about fifteen year old Alex, who's leader of his little gang and he and said gang go on a little crime spree, but when his gang turn on him, Alex winds up incarcerated in prison. It's as he's in prison that he's offered the chance to reform, by trying out a new programme. Which sounded great to him, undergo two weeks on said programme then he's out in the world, free. But the programme isn't what he was expecting. When he's finally let out, he has no choice in his actions he has to do the right thing for society.
When I Discovered This Classic
God, I say this every single time and I'm beginning to hate myself for it, but I have no idea when I discovered it! I'm fairly certain someone mentioned it or it was mentioned in a film or a tv show or another book. But I have no idea when that was. Sorry guys! Edit: As I've been writing this I've been having a think about how I'd recommend it to and so on, and as I was writing about free will and how it's done in this book....BOOM. I'm 75% sure I discovered this properly when my Philosophy and Ethics teacher mentioned it one lesson, and I then went to look for it on GoodReads!
Why I Chose To Read It
Because it's one of those classics that everyone raves about says that you should read at some point in your life. Honestly that is one of the main reasons, but why I chose to read it this month rather than any other month? Because along with it being raved about and so on, it's also only 140 pages and I've read either chunky classics or classics that are a bit hard to read and I wanted to pick a short one because I'm lazy and felt like a break of sorts!
What Makes It A Classic
I think the language. There's this entire different language in this book, the slang of the teenagers in the book and the entire book is written using it. It made it hard to read, because I was trying to work out what each word meant and remember what each one meant. But it also worked for the book, because it pulled you in to it and like has been said, it's an experiment in language and it works. I also think it's how this book explores free will. We see Alex using his free will and then having it taken from him and all the debate that comes with it.
What I Thought Of This Classic
I thought it was incredibly well written, like I keep saying, it was hard to read at some points and understand what the narrator was talking about, but once you get used to it and the language used you get in to the flow of things. I think if I re-read it I'd find it easier than this first time round! I quickly cottoned on to some of the Russian or cockney inspired words, that being said! But the slang fit with the book, Alex uses it all the time, it's what he narrates in. Once I got used to the language, I actually quite liked the idea of some of the words, I enjoyed trying to work out the origins of the words, like I said some where clearly Russian or Cockney inspired, but not all. It helped that the author consistently used all of these slang words, otherwise I'd have been lost!
I liked the bit at the end when he was still using all the same language and slang but his friend from before wasn't and you kind of got hit with just how...I don't know, I kind of want to say young or something. He's however old at the end of the book, he's been in prison before, and he's still using this same language, like he's holding on to it and can't let it go almost. Then the contrast between Alex and his friend, and Alex saying 'Youth must go" and wanting to grow up and get married and have a child, it was almost like he'd been in this little bubble and the language was a part of it. The fact he then uses his free will, which has been returned to him, to decide to grow up, to decide to want bigger and better things rounds it out nicely. That he wants to do it, and doesn't want it because he's been conditioned to. This probably makes no sense, it's hard for me to explain what I mean!
BUT. Yes there's a but. While I liked that, it also wasn't very believable. I though it was a bit odd that someone who I would describe as a sociopath, suddenly decides upon seeing this friend that he thinks babies are cute and he wants to have one, while it was nice, I'm not sure how believable it was. I believed his little mate Dim could be made in to a police officer, a corrupt and nasty one that is. I had been wondering what had happened to his other friend but while I liked the contrasts and that we see Alex using his free will to decide to become a family man and stop with all the violence and crime and stuff, it also seemed a bit random that someone who the state had failed to reform, and had even reverted back to his old self...would get bored and decide to throw the towel in. I actually have realised that my edition had the "missing" chapter included as a regular chapter, and upon looking back at where the book ended when originally published...I do think that would have been a better ending.
I thought it was interesting how all the violence and crime was written, he says "oh we did this and that" the same way you might be like "Oh yeah we went to the cinema and then went for lunch" or something. Casually. He's a complete sociopath and you can see it from how he refers to all the heinous things he did. He doesn't seem the least bit bothered with a conscience. The fact that all these scenes of violence are written with excitement and a sense of casualness, makes them seem even more horrifying, and clues you in to how badly messed up Alex is. It stops it all from seeming glorified.
The interesting thing about Alex, is that while he could be described as a thug or a hooligan, he's a very cultured one. He may be younger than his droogs but he's almost a step above them. He likes classical music, I actually laughed a little bit when he got so incensed about having one of his favourite songs ruined for him, because of all the things you'd think this guy would get angry at, music wasn't it! The author describes the music and how Alex hears it in a very interesting and lyrical way. Alex himself has an interesting way of speech, Alex has a taste for arts, and as I was reading certain passages, I couldn't help but think he tended towards a dramatic and flamboyant way of speech at times. As well as thinking he was reliving his heyday or something. It made the book even more interesting to read, and Alex was interesting to read about because he comes across as quite cultured, and yet he can murder someone without blinking.
Despite what some people may think, this book isn't all doom and gloom and violence, as I've said, the passages about music are beautiful to read, and Alex's speech can be too sometimes when he's feeling flamboyant. It's also fascinating to think about the debate in the book. Reforming someone...but taking away their free will to do it. So they have no choice but to act in the best interests of society. Is it too high a cost? Is it moral? Alex's treatment is referred to in a couple of different ways in the book, hypnotism and conditioning, and my brain came up with a few different words as I was trying to find the word I was thinking about (It was conditioning), torture and brainwashing being a couple and none of them have nice connotations to them really. Yes he's a criminal but still....is it fair? Very interesting to debate about, I would imagine.
Will It Stay A Classic
I believe this book has a reputation for being ridiculously violent and because it has a reputation with a negative connotation to it, people are always going to be curious to read it, to see what all the fuss is about. As well as the fact that it's referred to as one of those books you have to read. I also think the language is a draw, people would be curious to see what everyone means when they talk about the language of the book, and what all these strange words are!
Who I'd Recommend It To
Hmmm this is tricky. When I did Philosophy and Ethics for my A-Levels, there was a lot of discussion about free will, so I think it might be of interest to people studying the same thing, not to mention people studying English Language if they haven't done it already! I do agree with everyones assessment that everyone should read it at some point, so perhaps teenagers in GCSE year? People who like a good debate and like to ponder on philosophy would also enjoy reading this and thinking about it and discussing it with others. Oh and people who like the grittier books. I kinda wanna say something stupid like it's kind of like Dexter but with less murder and more philosophy. I think that's about it!
I actually only have the one, but it's one I specifically chose! Penguin have some really brilliant covers for their classics, and that's not just their clothbounds and English Library Editions! They have their Deluxe Editions and then their essential editions and that's the edition of this that I have. The Penguin Essentials edition! For some reason I can't stand the classics with the plain covers, I like the interesting covers!
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