In Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange, Burgess creates a gloomy future full of violence, rape and destruction. In this dystopian novel, Burgess does a fantastic job of constantly changing the readers’ allegiance toward the books narrator and main character, Alex. Writing in a foreign language, Burgess makes the reader feel like an outsider. As the novel begins, the reader has no emotional connection to Alex. This non-emotional state comes to a sudden halt when Alex and his droogs begin a series of merciless acts of violence. The reader rapidly begins to form what seems to be an irreversible hatred toward the books narrator. However, as time progresses, Burgess cleverly changes the tone of his novel. Once wishing only the harshest punishments be bestowed upon him, it is these same punishments that begin to change how the reader feels. In fact, by the end of the book, one almost begins to have pity for Alex. The same character that was once hated soon emerges as one of many victims taken throughout the course of the book. Throughout Alex’s narration, Burgess manages to change the readers’ allegiance toward a once seemingly evil character.
Alex is the type of character one loves to hate; he makes it all too easy to dislike him. He is a brutal, violent, teenage criminal with no place in society. His one and only role is to create chaos, which he does too well. Alex’s violent nature is first witnessed during the first chapter, and is soon seen again when Alex and his gang chose to brutally beat an innocent drunkard. This beating off the homeless man serves no purpose other then to amuse Alex’s gang. The acts committed were not performed for revenge, the one reason given was that Alex did not enjoy seeing a homeless drunk, “I could never stand to see a moodge all filthy and rolling and burping and drunk, whatever his age might be, but more especially when he was real starry like this one was”. Alex continues to explain his reason for dislike, “his platties were a disgrace, all creased and untidy and covered in cal”, from this explanation one realizes his reasons for nearly killing a man are simply based on pleasure, desire, and a dislike toward the untidy. By the end of the second chapter Burgess’s inventive usage of a different language to keep the reader alienated from forming opinions about Alex ceases to work. At this point in time Alex’s true nature is revealed, and not even his unfamiliar Nadsat language can save him from being strongly disliked by the reader.