Now here's a real horrorshow raskazz that I've owned for a good long raz. My appy polly loggies if you don't kopat my govoreeting, O my brothers and sisters. You will just have to kupet it and read it, or itty over to the biblio and borrow it. Have yourself a tass of the old moloko-plus while you are at it.
And that's about all I can manage of the Nadsat language, with which A Clockwork Orange is replete. From the very first page, you know you are in for it:
"What's it going to be then, eh?"And what you're in for is a taste of the old ultra-violence of disaffected youth...in the case of Alex, a case of love of violence for its own sake. And the follow-up is the violence perpetrated by the state for the purpose of preventing the violence of the disaffected youth.
There was me, that is Alex, and my three droogs, that is Pete, Georgie, and Dim, Dim being really dim, and we sat in the Korova Milkbar making up our rassoodocks what to do with the evening, a flip dark chill winter bastard though dry. The Korova Milkbar was a milk-plus mesto, and you may, O my brothers, have forgotten what these mestos were like, things changing so skorry these days and everybody quick to forget, newspapers not being read much neither.
I'm oversimplifying, but in these days of lawn order politicians, minimum sentencing and so-called stiff penalties for every little thing, oversimplifying fits very well with the zeitgeist.
Alex and his droogs commit several heinous crimes, and then, because Alex was a little too trusting of his droogs and miscalculated their loyalty, he gets nabbed by the millicents and sentenced to prison. And eventually submits to an experimental treatment whereby he is rendered incapable of violence. The very thought makes him violently ill. As an unintended side-effect, the treatment also robs him of his only redeeming feature, the love of music.
And then he gets released. Within hours his negative karma catches up with him. He meets his old droogs and gets the crap kicked out of him. He takes refuge with a previous victim who then turns him over to some political types who use him for their own purposes. He gets thrown out of the house of his own pee & em. He attempts suicide.
The bleeding hearts get themselves in an uproar and force the government to restore him to his original condition, an ultra-violent lover of Beethoven.
In the end, Burgess offers an indictment of both sides. Beware the demagogues and simple-solution advocates. Things are not that simple. What was done to Alex was an outrage (even tho he more or less agreed to it.) Put as oversimply as possible, the state has no right to remove one's humanity (limited as that humanity might be.)
But the other end of it is just as unsatisfactory. In the end, Alex reverts to his original state:
Oh, it was gorgeosity and yumyumyum. When it came to the Scherzo [of Beethoven's glorious Ninth] I could viddy myself very clear running and running on like very light and mysterious nogas, carving the whole litso of the creeching world with my cut-throat britva. And there was the slow movement and the lovely last singing movement still to come. I was cured all right.But jolly old England was not a safer place.
Often when a book is made into a movie, the film doesn't quite live up to the book. That is not the case here. Stanley Kubrick crafted yet another masterpiece with A Clockwork Orange, and made Malcolm McDowell's career for him. Kubrick often managed to be ahead of the curve. In this case, among other things, the soundtrack by Wendy (then Walter) Carlos broke new ground with its use of electronic music. Electronic Beethoven what a concept!
Many years later I heard an interview with Wendy (previously Walter) Carlos, who described the incredibly painstaking process of creating this complex music with the (relatively) primitive, altho powerful, electronic instruments of the day, in particular the Moog.