Study Guide

A Clockwork Orange Transformation

By Anthony Burgess

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Burgess values transformation and has famously said that a book without a hint of "moral progress" or personal transformation has no point and is better left unwritten.

Yeah: A Clockwork Orange is not better left unwritten.

Despite all the crime Alex commits, at the end of the day, he grows up. The transformation Alex experiences in the novel is hard-earned and long overdue; it is also freely chosen and deeply personal for him.

Questions About Transformation

  1. In what ways does Alex undergo personal and moral transformation from the beginning to the end of the book? How can you tell? Does the transformation manifest itself through his actions, or just his thoughts?
  2. Does Alex's transformation seem sudden or surprising to you? Is it fitting? Natural? Could A Clockwork Orange have done without the last chapter?
  3. Who and what are chiefly responsible for causing Alex to suddenly grow up? In what ways is his maturation like a religious awakening? In what senses is it hard-earned and long in coming?
  4. How does F. Alexander transform from part one to part three?

Chew on This

Alex's "transformation" in the last chapter is completely superficial and will not last, for he has come by it due to boredom with his current life and out of envy for Pete's "normal" life.

The transformation F. Alexander has experienced might more appropriately be called degeneration. He goes from being an aspiring writer who loves his wife to a vengeful political dissident.

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