In Anthony Burgess’s <em>A Clockwork Orange</em> (1962), the teenage Alex and his fellow droogs (gang members) consider their options for evening entertainment. They beat a homeless man outside a pub, purely for being there: ‘We gave him the boot, one go each, and then it was blood, not song nor vomit that came out of his filthy old rot’<sup>1</sup>. Alex continues on a spree of ‘ultraviolence’<sup>2</sup> (‘We were full of like hate, so smashed what was left to be smashed’<sup>3</sup>) until he is arrested for rape.<br><br>As part of his conviction, government psychologists inflict an experimental ‘aversion therapy’ on Alex in which they force him to associate violence with nausea. He is soon released when he demonstrates intense fear of his criminal impulses.<br><br>Due to the success of aversion therapy, Alex cannot defend himself when he is attacked by friends of his victims and his former droogs, eventually attempting suicide after being psychologically tortured. Alex becomes isolated, unable to use violence to gain power, and appeals to the reader, bemoaning the ordeal of ‘your old droog Alex’<sup>4</sup>.<br><br>By making Alex the narrator of <em>A Clockwork Orange</em>, Burgess reveals a mind devoid of human empathy. From this intimate perspective, the reader experiences Alex’s gratuitous cruelty, and although Alex is a ‘glamorous’ psychopath, professing a love for Beethoven and possessing a flair for language, the reader is immune to his eventual suffering.<br><br>The novel also denies the reader the comfort of a traditional redemption arc, as Alex only refrains from violence after therapy is forced on him.<br><br>Consequently, Burgess’s teenage criminal is left in a state of limbo — too damaged for redemption and too dangerous for society.