A Clockwork Orange

Shocking the Reader in American Psycho and A Clockwork Orange 12th Grade

The controversy surrounding Brett Easton Ellis's American Psycho and Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange relates primarily to the central themes that are explored in both books. Nevertheless, the brutality and explicit expression that drench these novels is imperative in shocking the readers. Although it is not solely the violent content of the books that shocks, it is a "matter of form and style" and the methods used by both authors in their portrayals of monstrosity. Both Burgess and Ellis employ literary techniques in their novels that are significantly directed toward provoking a controversial response from readers upon publication. However, this is not to say that the principal purpose of these novels is to shock; arguably, this is merely an effect generated by the form in which these books are presented. It can be said that Ellis's presentation of a consumer society is fundamental in driving Bateman, Ellis's protaganist, to act in the way he does. Likewise, Burgess's depiction of an oppressive, totalitarian society is also crucial in understanding Alex's desire for sadomasochism.

American Psycho's "bizarre mixture of yuppie satire and splatter horror caused reactions of scathing criticism, indignation, yes, even murder...

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