When Anthony Burgess wrote A Clockwork Orange, John Anthony Burgess Wilson created his own world set in London during a future time when gangs and violence are rampant on the streets, "which is his own particular vision of horrors yet to come." (Olsen 114). Burgess created in his book a setting of a "dystopian novel" as opposed to a "utopian" novel. Concepts of Utopian society were based on the ideas of Sir Thomas More's visions of an ideal society in his book Utopia. After World War II, the dystopian novel had become more commonplace and was a literary staple of the times. This particular brand of literature stressed the overly pessimistic view of human nature and featured, as was presented in A Clockwork Orange, violence as well as the dark areas of human behavior and society. .
This novel of a young fifteen-year-old boy known only by the name of Alex, is not an exception. Alex, the antihero, and his three "droogs" are a gang of youngsters who goes around in the dangerous streets of London, fighting, raping, pillaging, and all the basic doings generally associated with anarchy. This young hoodlum is eventually betrayed to the police by his own gang and sentenced to fourteen years in prison--a prison which attempts to cure him of his love for violence and evil using what was dubbed the "Ludovico Technique" yet at the same time strips him of his own humanity by not allowing him the freedom to choose right or wrong. He is tested and released out on his own where he encounters many of his earlier victims. After recuperating from an attempted suicide brought on by the pain of the Ludovico Technique, Alex happened to come upon Pete, an old droog of his in the gang. Both Alex and Pete were by then eighteen, but Pete had matured. He had a wife, a job, spoke standard English, and owned a home; whereas Alex was still living with his parents and spoke his own slang. It was after this experience that the young droog had grew up, and a rite of passage took place.