A Clockwork orange is a novel written by Anthony Burgess and published in 1962. It is the most famous novel of this author which had a significant influence on the development of visual, musical, and literary culture. The novel pictures the conflict between the state and the individual, the punishment of criminality among the youth and the possibility of redemption. The book has extreme linguistic originality and touches the questions that do not lose their actuality and importance in our days.
A Hidden context of the novel
Analysis of A clockwork orange shows that the author was not afraid to talk about such topics as drugs, violence among young people, fashion, and music. All these themes together create a whole vivid picture that could not live the reader indifferent. It should be mentioned, that the book itself was not so popular until it was filmed in 1972. After the film adaptation, the novel received extreme popularity among the wide audience and still does not lose it today. The author himself stated that it was not the best of his work and was afraid to be remembered and known only by his minor book while the list of major books is not noticed by the masses.
The ideas of creating this novel came to Burgess after his return to England from Malaya where he took the position of a colonial teacher. He saw different England with a changed youth culture with bars, pop music, violence, and drugs. He decided to show this picture in a book, brightly and vividly giving examples of youth behavior. The violence in the novel is pictured extremely vividly, and there is a thesis suggesting that these pictures were formed on the bases of Burgess’ experience of violence in his real life. During the war, his first wife was beaten and robbed by American soldiers. The reader can see the similar picture in the novel, where the wife of the writer suffers from Alex and his friends.
What was the source of inspiration
However, the biggest resource of the inspiration for writing his novel, Burgess found in the literature. A Clockwork Orange had received its context from the writings of such authors like Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, Diana, and Meir Gillon, and Yevgeny Zamyatin. All of these books and the study of psychological response to determinism created a basis for Burgess’ novel. He learned basic Russia, and this helped him to create an incredible slang that became the novel’s significant feature. The narrator tells the story uses Russian words and slang, a part of which is real and the other is invented. He also used some words from Romany. The author explained this by his goal to surprisingly involve the reader in Russian vocabulary.
The novel presents a story about the gang of violent teenagers and is told by its member, Alex. With the help of the slang Nadsat, Burgess was able to create a bright picture of acts of rape, robbery, drinking drugs, and acts of torture. One day the process of robbery goes wrong, and as a result, Alex is sentenced to 14 years. Alex decided to become a participant in the project the Ludovico Technique. The boy did not know that it is a form of aversion therapy and was supposed to make him ill as soon as he wants to complete a rubber. The author touches an urgent question: “Is it necessary to force someone to do a good if he does not want to be good?” Should people apply violence to several individuals in order to protect the majority of others?
Burgess explained why he chose such a title for his book. He claimed that it was a phrase that he used to hear years ago and liked it. It was a phrase “as queer as a clockwork orange” from the East London slang. Burgess decided to broaden the meaning of this phrase, mixing up the organic fresh orange and a mechanic clock and creating a sense of oxymoron. The prompts in Burgess’ typescript show that he had not a strict image of the end of his novel. The concluded chapter of the book pictures the Alex who is already grown up and continued to commit violence with great pleasure. The film, though, excluded this final chapter.
The novel “A Clockwork Orange” was written in the 20th century but does not lose its actuality in our time and is still an important cultural book. It still touches the readers leading them to shock. It forces the audience to think about the things that they never thought about before, deeply involving them in the world of criminality. Burgess created a book that had become placed under the examination of critics and readers and received their approval. The author also completed his dramatic version of this book that became popular as well.