Monday, 30 September 2013

Reading List: Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess


Book 1: A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

Let's start with a plot to this rather disturbing and interesting novel.
 A Clockwork Orange takes place in a futuristic city governed by a repressive, totalitarian super-State. In this society, ordinary citizens have fallen into a passive stupor of complacency, blind to the insidious growth of a rampant, violent youth culture. The protagonist of the story is Alex, a fifteen-year-old boy who narrates in a teenage slang called nadsat, which incorporates elements of Russian and Cockney English. Alex leads a small gang of teenage criminals—Dim, Pete, and Georgie—through the streets, robbing and beating men and raping women. Alex and his friends spend the rest of their time at the Korova Milkbar, an establishment that serves milk laced with drugs, and a bar called the Duke of New York. The first night in the novel the gang of "droogs" head out onto the streets and attack a old man and a rival gang, they later steal a car and drive to a writer and his wife's cottage in the countryside. They rape and attack the writers wife while the writer watches as Alex sings "I'm singing in the rain". They later go to a old woman's house to steal and rape, Alex is attacked by the woman and eventually beats her to the ground. He attempts to leave but once outside he is attacked by his own "droogs" leaving him for the police. He is sent to prison, after the woman dies, for 14 years in a overcrowded prison. Alex is then selected to go under a new form of Aversion Therapy which he is subjected to a videos and music which under a serum makes Alex violently sick when he thinks of violent acts. He is released from the prison being considered harmless to society, kicked out from his own home he is beaten by his old "droogs" who are reformed police officers. While trying to find help from the beating he comes across the home of the old writer. The writer over time recognises Alex, who had raped and killed his wife years before, and tries to make Alex commit suicide by blasting the music used in the Aversion therapy through his walls. He jumps from the window and is admitted to hospital. In hospital Alex is told that the Aversion therapy has been removed. Alex then returns to his life of crime not feeling sick anymore but tires of his life. Later after tiring from this new lease of life he decides to leave the gang and he looks to his future.

My review/thoughts/what I personally picked up on: 
I really enjoyed the book, it's gritty view on the teenage sub-culture really interested me. Even though I got lost in the slang which Alex and his gang members used, I actually had to have a glossary up on my phone while reading this. The slang, Nadsat, used is a mixture of Russian and Cockney English and makes feel removed from Alex as a character. It also removes us from the violence is also causing, also the way the slang is used lacks remorse "Ultra- Violence" meaning rape. Burgess used Nadsat as this is the way he believed teenagers would be speaking in the future. This is contrasted in the way that the adults speak, the adults of the novel speak in a predictable manner. His parents speak in parental cliches, doctors in medical jargon, the police only speak in law and order terminology. It highlights the differences between the generations and how disconnected they are from each other.
The way society is seen in the eyes of Burgess is very interesting and twisted, the way he sees the youth culture. The way teenagers are represented in the novel are that they non-conformist and yobs. The only teenagers identified in the book is Alex, a rival gang who Alex and his "droogs" attack in the first section of the novel, and two girls whom Alex spots in the record shop and takes them to his home then rapes them. They are shown as evil almost, Alex's gang attacks others, the rival gang is about to rape a woman when Alex shows up in the first chapter, and the two girls are meant to be not much older than 10 and bunking of school. A newspaper article is read by Alex and his probation office which is on "The Modern Youth" and the chaos they are causing.
"The old in-and-out" aka. Sex is a way of showing power in A Clockwork Orange. Rape is a common feature of this novel, Alex and his "droogs" when they go to Mr. Alexander "ultra-violence" (rape) Mrs. Alexander while he watches. Alex does the same to the two girls bunking school. Deltiod, Alex's probation officer, grabs Alex's balls when in discussion with his to assert his dominance over Alex. The whole novel though boils down to controlling something through somebody, through many different methods but sex. Mr. Alexander saw Alex as a way to bring down the government, The Minster of the Interior saw Alex as a guinea pig in the Aversion therapy and also removal of the treatment, and Alex using violence and threats to control his own gang then buying them back once he's hurt them. Burgess shows the society as power hungry, greedy and will exploit others to get there way.

I personally loved this book, it's still current and examples of the treatment are still being used in places such as America to "reform" gay men (that is just sick personally), the way the government will always be partially true. The character of Alex is brilliant and the end, was just right and mature. I would recommend this book to anyone.

I just still can't watch the movie...I know what happens but images of it made me have to turn it off. Too much. But brilliant book.

Monday, 23 September 2013

My reading list!

Hey there my lovely but tiny readership,

I'm a A-Level English student at a sixth form in my local area and have recently taken my AS Level to receive a mix bag of results. At the start of my year 13 English course we were as a class given a reading list which we were encouraged to read for further depth of reading and knowledge of literature. The list contains of 76 different titles which I am to attempt of reading half of them by the end of my year. I so far have read 6...3 of them were read before I was actually given the list. Lucky really! But I intend to read as many as possible for personal interest and I feel I'm missing out on modern literature by reading cruddy women's romantic literature which end the right way but the wrong juxtaposed is that?!

But what has this got to do with you lovely that's what. Every time I cross a book on that list I will review it. So once every 3 worst...I will review a new book. I intend to talk about my personal feelings on the book and how I understood it and any interesting sections and discuss them here...basically I'm doing my own revision for English and reviewing books for pleasure. And sure it looks lovely on a UCAS statement if I say I read a lot of books and do online reviews...just won't give them my blog name...I know sneaky.

I will review the 3 books in short turn before I finish my current book, which isn't on the reading list but is interesting, these books will be Anthony Burgess's Clockwork Orange, Joseph Heller's Catch-22,  and Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar. I hope you enjoy my reviews on this book and it is my my mission to inspire me to read more books, but also to encourage you...yes reader, read these books to. I hope you will share my enthusiasm with me.

Keep a close eye out for reviews soon,

Ta ta!

Friday, 20 September 2013

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Lets explain my name...

Obscure blog titles confuse me. They don't often reflect the content of the blog, neither do they give any explanation of why the blogger has chosen to choose such a name. So I thought I would go out on a limb and explain my title.

  • "1 (also punk rock) [mass noun] a loud, fast-moving, and aggressive form of rock music, popular in the late 1970s:punk had turned pop music and its attendant culture on its head"
This is the Oxford dictionary definition of the the term punk. To me the punk culture was different, to the definition. It was a social revolution of art, music and freedom of expression which united people together. It was a clear cut revolution. Stemming from the Hippies of the 60's this subculture made their own thoughts loud and clear and weren't afraid of the consequences. The Sex Pistols attacking the Monarchy and social conformity, Vivienne Westwood creating controversial clothing in a controversial names store "SEX" (any need to explain that one?). Politics was changing again...well it doesn't stop, but...and people weren't happy, again. Yelling about it was fine!
To me punk was a social outlet of not really giving a flying hippopotamus about how others saw you, and group of people who also felt that the norms and values of society were constricting there choices in life. So the only way they could do this was vent through fashion, music, books, and even film.

The name if my blog is simple. I want to be part of this punk subculture, but I'm 40/30 years late. It sits on its last legs unfortunately. So the title is "Trying to be Punk" for that reason. The tag line "...but not doing a very good job" refers to my lack of care about politics and joining in with the social change and actually doing a rather stunning job of conforming.

So this explains my strange title of a blog. I will try to post stuff regularly. Fashion, books, films, me out an about. Rubbish like that. I hope you enjoy me rabbling.

Beth x