A Clockwork Orange

Clockwork Orange: The Last Chapter

In many ways, the controversial last chapter of Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange undermines the novel's fundamental premise. Alex's unforeseen transformation from a sadistic criminal into a consciously reformed and mature individual is not only poorly explained, but also completely absurd. Therefore, the work as a whole is undoubtedly better without the twenty-first chapter.

From the start, Alex's character fascinates as a cruel, corrupted youth with a thirst for "the old ultra-violence." As the first seven chapters of the novel chronicle his twisted acts of the "nochy," it becomes clear that violence is Alex's art form. He is passionate about his work and sets to perform every piece of it with meticulous care, saying, "you should never look as though you have been" in a fight. This passion is essential throughout the novel, because it keeps the reader empathetic to Alex: No matter how atrocious his crimes are, everyone can identify with a man's burning desire to express himself. Thus, the reader shares Alex's anxiety when the State strips him of his ability to commit violence by brainwashing him through Ludovico's Technique, forcing him to "be just like a...

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