v is for violence: a review on anthony burgess's "a clockwork orange"

by melody seraydarian

Imagine existing in a world run by sadistic, barbaric, and deranged gangs who bring forth disaster on civilians. Imagine there being nothing you can do about it. Anthony Burgess created this world through his novel, A Clockwork Orange, and later on brought it to life on the big screen with the iconic Stanley Kubrick.

Set in dystopian England, the story follows the protagonist, Alex and his pugnacious gang, the Droogs. Together, they commit unspeakable atrocities like murder, vandalism, grand theft auto, arson, drugs, rape, the list goes on. After he’s caught beating the Cat Lady to her undeserved death, he self-admits into a behavior modification program to avoid jail time. However, this program takes away the one thing that makes him truly happy...the one thing his life revolves around: violence. He comes out of the program and returns to the world defenseless and vulnerable, and ultimately, becomes the victim of his prior crimes.

The story, though exaggerated, is terrifying to me for the sole reason that human laws are fragile and really don’t exist. that if we didn’t create law and order in our world, these kind of acts would be normalities. It is in the human nature to hurt, to destruct, to break. Nobody is born good. We learn it. We develop empathy. We understand how to be kind. All humans are born evil. What stops us from murdering everyone we see? Wouldn’t killing someone we hate instead of dealing with them be the more simple option? Violence is ubiquitous in the world of A Clockwork Orange, as it could very well be in our world. We as humans decided that crime is wrong. We are the ones that decided that being “good” is better than being “evil”. Yes, by watching this film, I could dictate the difference between the good and the bad, and I wholeheartedly believe that benevolence is the answer. But really, what is being good except for a man-made concept? Maybe being evil truly is the right way to go. Are we all sinners?

It is quite scary to see Alex commit crimes for the sheer joy of it; nothing more, nothing less. It’s possible that our society could have very well been like that now.

I believe horror movies are very important. Seeing things that scare us projected in front of our eyes help us learn to deal with our own fears. It helps increase our confidence so we can overcome overwrought situations. By showing us things that are so terrible, it can help us break out of our bubble of goodness. There are evil things in the world and we should be exposed to those things, however, experiencing these things shouldn’t be the only option.

By watching and reading horror movies and literature, it helps us look within ourselves. It helps locate our own personal levels of viciousness. What are we really capable of?