Banned for social reasons in many conditions and in many school systems, Anthony Burgesss A Clockwork Orange first seems to pierce the mind with its bizarre linguistic orgy of debauchery, brutality, and sex, and for some, refuses to affect them above the level of pure voyeurism and bloodlust (either for reveling in it or despising it).
Sadism seems to twist the male protagonist; his mind becomes alive with brutal fantasies whilst listening to seemingly innocuous classical music ( There were vecks and ptitsas, both young and starry, lying on the ground screaming for mercy, and I was smecking all over my rot and grinding my boot in their litsos. ). Many arguments have been made about the censorship of this novella which glorifies sex and violence; however, these elements are clearly manipulated for plot development and character development, and ultimately, the story does pose a moral lesson.
By psychological definition, people affected with anti-social disorder (also known as sociopaths or psychopaths) have incredible manipulation skills; they also fail to conform to social norms, are deceitful and aggressive, and seek to destroy with little remorse. Sex, cruelty, and dominance define parts of anti-social behavior, and the odd near-antithesis of a hero, Alex, exists as the beloved psychopath in this cult story.
He vigorously goes on nightly rampages with his band of droogs after consuming spiked moloko, tearing down what society has morally built and ripping holes into the reasoning of random citizens. Here, Burgess utilizes a unique method of writing by making the readers realize their affection for this teenage criminal, even in the midst of his violent perversions. As stated in many other summaries and analogies of the book, the ethics derived from the book revolve around the topic of choice.
Is a person truly moral if their benevolence comes from forced conditioning as opposed to their personal choice for compassion? Does programmed decency towards people ultimately possess superiority over a natural psychosis? It can be argued that programmed decency protects the happiness of the main population, but natural psychosis comes from the choice of the individual, and protects their happiness (if the psychosis served as a source of joy for the individual to begin with, not insanity that brings about manic-depression and whatnot).
Building the character of Alex to fully express the story and the questions the book will eventually pose doubtlessly requires the use of savage raping, theft, and the vicious, bloody beatings administered to many common people; these portions of A Clockwork Orange appointed taboo aid in the definition of the brutal Alex, and are necessary to release the topic of choices full effect.
A Clockwork Orange often faces criticisms for its supposed blatant celebration of savagery, contempt for authority, and sexual promiscuity by promoting a character who wallows in all of these forbidden acts, but for the many people who gripe about its obscenities fail to see the function in helping the story.
Perhaps the reason many potential readers of this cult favorite shy away from it can be attributed to the Kubrick movie, which was edited down from an X rating to an R, inspired copycat crimes, and was considered visually repulsive for numerous amounts of conservative movie goers; however, the book is protected with a shield of the nadsat talk, and emphasizes points in ethics. For the many critics of the novella and the ones who cannot see past the lewd material, please refrain from calling it trash. It is just the opposite.