A Clockwork Orange

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For the Stanley Kubrick film based on this novel, see A Clockwork Orange (film).

A Clockwork Orange (1962) is a novel by Anthony Burgess.

See also: Anthony Burgess#A Clockwork Orange (1962)


  • There was me, that is Alex, and my three droogs, that is Pete, Georgie, and Dim, and we sat in the Korova Milkbar trying to make up our rassoodocks what to do with the evening.
  • "The Korova milkbar sold milk-plus, milk plus vellocet or synthemesc or drencrom, which is what we were drinking. This would sharpen you up and make you ready for a bit of the old ultraviolence."
  • "One thing I could never stand was to see a filthy dirty old drunky howling away at the filthy songs of his fathers and going blurp blurp in between as it might be a filthy old orchestra in his stinking rotten guts;I could never stand to see anyone like that. whatever his age might be, but more especially when he was real old like this one was.

Irish Drunk: Can you spare some cutter me brothers? Go on, do me in, you bastards like this, I don't want to live in a stinking old world like this."

Alex: "Oh? And What's so stinking about it?

Drunk: There is no law and order.

  • "What's it going to be then, eh?"
    • Source: Part 3, Chapter 01, sentence 01
  • "Come with uncle," I said, "and hear all proper. Hear angel trumpets and devil trombones. You are invited."
  • Welly, welly, welly, welly, welly, welly, well. To what do I owe the extreme pleasure of this surprising visit?
  • Let's get things nice and sparkling clear. This sarcasm - if I may call it such, is very unbecoming of you oh my brothers
  • "Have you some new torture for me, you bratchny?"
  • "Oh bliss, bliss and heaven... Oh, it was gorgeousness and gorgeousity made flesh... And then, a bird of rarest-spun heaven metal, or like silvery wine flowing in a spaceship, gravity all nonsense now... I knew such lovely pictures" (This was said while listening to a violin concerto by Geoffrey Plautus, played by Odysseus Choerilos)
  • "Initiative comes to them as wait."
  • Naughty, Naughty, Naughty you filthy ol' soomka!
  • "What we were after now was the old surprise visit. That was a real kick and good for laughs and lashings of the old ultraviolence."
  • You needn't take it any further, sir. You've proved to me that all this ultraviolence and killing is wrong, wrong, and terribly wrong. I've learned me lesson, sir. I've seen now what I've never seen before. I'm cured! Praise Bog! I'm cured!
  • "It’s funny how the colours of the real world only seem really real when you viddy them on the screen."
  • "Suddenly, I viddied what I had to do, and what I had wanted to do, and that was to do myself in; to snuff it, to blast off for ever out of this wicked, cruel world. One moment of pain perhaps and, then, sleep forever, and ever and ever."
  • "Well, well, well, well. If it isn't fat, stinking billygoat Billy-Boy in poison. How art thou, thou globby bottle of cheap, stinking chip-oil? Come and get one in the yarbles, if you have any yarbles, you eunuch jelly thou."
  • "I creeched louder still, creeching: 'Am I just to be like a clockwork orange?'"
  • "Then I looked at its top sheet, and there was the name -A CLOCKWORK ORANGE- and I said: 'That's a fair gloopy title. Who ever heard of a clockwork orange?'

Minister of the Interior

  • "There was a man. . .a writer of subversive literature."
  • “Padre, these are subtleties. We’re not concerned with motives, with the higher ethics. We are concerned only with cutting down crime--and. . .with relieving the ghastly congestion in our prisons. He will be your true Christian: ready to turn the other cheek, ready to be crucified rather than crucify, sick to the very heart at the thought even of killing a fly! Reclamation! Joy before the angels of God! The point is that it works.”
  • "He's young, bold, vicious. Brodsky will deal with him tomorrow and you can sit in and watch Brodsky. It works all right, don't you worry about that. This young hoodlum will be transformed out of all recognition."
    • Source: Part 2, Chapter 2

Mr. Alexander

  • “The common people will let it go. Oh yes, they’ll sell liberty for a quieter life. That is why they must be led, sir, driven, pushed!”
  • "The attempt to impose upon man, a creature of growth and capable of sweetness, to ooze juicily at the last round the bearded lips of God, to attempt to impose, I say, laws and conditions appropriate to a mechanical creation, against this I raise my sword-pen."
    • Source: Part 1, Chapter 02, sentence 23

P.R. Deltoid

  • "But I'm warning you, little Alex, being a good friend to you as always, the one man in this sore and sick community who wants to save you from yourself."
  • “We study the problem and we’ve been studying it for damn well near a century, yes, but we get no further with our studies. You’ve got a good home here, good loving parents. You’ve got not too bad of a brain. Is it some devil that crawls inside of you?”

Prison Chaplain

  • "What's it going to be then, eh?"
    • Source: Part 2, Chapter 01, sentence 01
  • "A lot of idiots you are, selling your own birthright for a saucer of cold porridge! The thrill of theft! Of violence! The urge to live easy! Well, I ask you what is it worth when we have undeniable truth, yes, incontrovertible evidence that Hell exists."
  • "Don't you laugh, damn you, don't you laugh!"
  • "When a man cannot choose, he ceases to be a man."
  • "Does God want goodness or the choice of goodness? Is a man who chooses to be bad perhaps in some way better than a man who has the good imposed upon him?
    • Source: Part 2, Chapter 03
  • Choice... He has no real choice, has he? Self-interest, the fear of physical pain drove him to that grotesque act of self-abasement. Its insincerity was clearly to be seen. He ceases to be a wrongdoer. He ceases also to be a creature capable of moral choice.


  • [About Alex] What natural right does he have to think he can give the orders and tolchock me whenever he likes? Yarbles is what I say to him, and I'd chain his glazzies out soon as look.
  • [To Alex as a Police Officer] Long time is right, I don't remember them days too horrorshow. Don't call me Dim no more either, Officer call me.
    • Source: Part 3, Chapter 3

Quotes about

  • When I was in high school, my English teacher gave me a copy of Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange. I was in awe of the use of slang and the portrayal of youth and violence. It was an example of what great fiction can do. I knew I would eventually want to write my own version of what it is like to be young and full of rage.