A Clockwork Orange Essay Research Paper Modernistic

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A Clockwork Orange Essay, Research Paper Modernistic Features of : A Clockwork Orange ( European Version) – Anthony Burgess A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, published in 1962, technically falls after the period deemed as Modernism , yet it embodies all of the features that were characteristic of that literary era. Burgess s novel is a futuristic look at a Totalitarian government. The main character (oranti-hero) is Alex, who is an ultra-violent thief who has no qualms about using force to get the in-out-in-out . The beginning of the story takes us through a night in the life of Alex and his Droogs, and details the adventures that occupy their time. At fifteen years old Alex is set up byhis Droogs (Pete, Dim, and Georgie) and was sent to jail and convicted of murder.

At the Staja ( the State Penitentiary) he became 6655321 and spent two years (in a sentence of fourteen) there. Alex is chosen by the government to undergo an experimental new Ludvico s Technique ,administered by Dr. Brodsky, that was to cure him of all that was bad (Reclamation Therapy). Alex is given injections and made to watch films of rape and violence and the mixture of these images and the drug cause him to associate feelings of panic and nausea with violence. He is released after a fortnight ( two weeks) of treatment and after a few encounters with pastvictims finds himself at the HOME of a radical writer (who ironically had also been a victim of Alex s, but does not recognize him) who is strongly opposed to the new treatment the government has subjected him to. This

writer (F. Alexander) believes that this method robs the recipient offreedom of choice and moral decision therefore depriving him of being human at all (a clockwork orange). Alex eventually attempts suicide and the State is forced to admit that the therapy was a mistake and cures him again. The last chapter of the novel (which was omitted from the American version and Stanley Kubrick s film) shows Alex s realization that he isgrowing up and out of his ultra-violent ways on his own. He realizes that he wants a wife and son of his own. A Clockwork Orange abandons normal language (which Modernists believed couldn t always convey meaning anyway) and is written in Nadsat ( which means teenager). It is a slang that is spoken by the teenagers at the time. Burgess uses approximately

two-hundred and fifty nadsat words (most of which have Russian roots) to convey his story. This gives the reader a sense of intimacy with Alex and his droogs (friends) due to the fact that the adults in the novel can t understand what they are govoreeting (saying). There is also a disruption of the linear flow ofnarrative aside from this private language; Alex ( Our Humble Narrator ) tells the story in a remembering type sequence, but often interjects with thoughts or questions posed directly at the reader. Aside from the strange language that is found on the pages of this novel, one of the most obvious modernistic features is Burgess s ability to shock. There are many different scenes that are quite disturbing and violent. Alex s propensity to rape young girls (ten years old),

and his absolute joy in the sight of blood and pain. while I ripped away at this and that and the other and real good horrorshow [good] groodies [breasts] they were that then exhibited their pink glazzies [eyes], O my brothers, while I untrussed [undresses] and got ready for the plunge. Plunging I could slooshy [hear] the cries of agony ( Burgess 23). This ties in with the fact that, asreaders, we tend to follow the actions of Alex and his droogs and it is easy to get caught up in all this violent action and loose sight of the real meaning of Burgess s novel. Burgess writes this novel from and to the “ID”. Alex and his droogs embody all animal or primal instincts and the tale that has been set before the reader has little respect for realism. We are presented with a world in