Triumph of Free Will in Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange

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Triumph of Free Will in A Clockwork Orange

Amidst a population composed of perfectly conditioned automatons, is a picture of a society that is slowly rotting from within. Alex, the Faustian protagonist of A Clockwork Orange, and a sadistic and depraved gang leader, preys on the weak and the innocent. Although perhaps misguided, his conscientiousness of his evil nature indicates his capacity to understand morality and deny its practice. When society attempts to force goodness upon Alex, he becomes the victim. Through his innovative style, manifested by both the use of original language and satirical structure, British author Anthony Burgess presents in his novella A Clockwork Orange, the moral triumph of free will within the controlling hands of a totalitarian society.

With the intention to install order and justice to protect human rights, society contrarily threatens human life by its own adverse imposition. This satire of society portrays the author’s opposition to the prominent behaviorism movement, led by B.F. Skinner. Ironically, Clockwork seems to ridicule the utopian society depicted in Skinner’s Walden Two (Aggeler 70). Proponents of behaviorism advocated the human conditioning described in Skinner’s work. Burgess’s imaginatively fabricated language found in Clockwork, known as Nadsat, carries this theme to the reader. At first reading, this fabricated jargon seems preposterous and difficult to understand, but by the end, the onomatopoeic wording flows naturally and thus "the effect of Nadsat on the reader functions as an ironic comment on the novel itself" (Foote, 87). Burgess conditions the readers themselves to comprehend Nadsat, yet they are fully unaware of this imposition. The language itself enthrall...

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