A Clockwork Orange
by Anthony Burgess
The protagonist-narrator of his violent and almost sci-fi adventure, Alex starts out as a fifteen-year-old gang leader of "modern youth" hell-bent on raping and pillaging. By the end of the book, he experiences a moral and personal transformation that seems completely out of place with his character. Well, not so much out of place if you are paying attention to his struggles and revelations.
A true dichotomy in every sense of the word, Alex is at once innocently endearing and purely evil, immature in his actions yet worldly in his thoughts about government, a connoisseur of classical music and an inflictor of lowly brutality. He dresses in the "heighth of fashion," hangs out in the most popular bars, and speaks in nadsat – a stylized dialectic to which only the coolest "modern youth" are privy. In other words, he's a handful of both trouble and intrigue.
Alex believes that evil is the natural state for all human beings. In choosing to be evil, he is choosing to be human. The totalitarian State disagrees with him, however, as it tries to deprive him of his choice to act violently at all. Thus, Alex's struggles against the State represent the struggles of human nature against automaton, freedom against determinism, individualism against mass repression, Etc. In the final chapter, as Alex re-becomes who he was and resolves to be different, he emerges triumphant against all that Burgess finds wrong with the world, morally speaking.