Anthony Burgess Essay Research Paper Anthony BurgessAny

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Anthony Burgess Essay, Research Paper Anthony Burgess: Any Old Anvil A Clockwork Orange Jacob Silberstein What makes an angry person? Start with one infant, whose mother died when he was two. Draft him into a war. Then mix with a wife who dies of alcohol cirrhosis. Finally, misdiagnose with a terminal illness. Yields one Anthony Burgess, English novelist and social critic. After years of public service and the above-mentioned hardships, Anthony Burgess unleashed a barrage of over 30 novels during his later life. Denoted by biting social commentary, Burgess’ novels satirized all areas of the British society in which he dwelled, specifically targeting areas like, the treatment of the English youth, reform techniques for criminals, and the negative affects of World War II on

British Society. On a larger scale, Burgess targeted the general oppressiveness of English Society. During Burgess’ life murmurs circulated throughout England concerning the growing number of hoodlums patrolling the streets at night. The rapid increase of hoodlum youths was a result of the English education system, which rigidly separated adolescents into the gifted and ordinary, supporting the talented while neglecting the mediocre. Consequently, those youths who had been, in a sense, abandoned by society collected in small groups to form gangs, with whom they perpetrated acts of violence to pass the time, and acts of theft to acquire funds. In turn, the response of society to the hoodlum gangs was to categorize them as an inhuman breed, rather than accepting the gangs as a

consequence of societal injustices. Once society considered the youths inhuman, the government had the ability to dispose of them as it pleased. Once captured, the youths were subjected to Skinnerian aversion techniques, in an attempt to purge their ability to commit acts of violence. This procedure rendered its subjects unable to perpetrate malicious acts by conditioning the body to respond to violence by making the perpetrator fiercely ill. While effective, this method also eliminated the perpetrators free will. For example, they did not choose, to abstain from criminal deeds; they merely were physically unable to perform them. A Clockwork Orange was Burgess’ response to the question: is an “evil” human being with free choice preferable to a “good” zombie without it?

Burgess elaborates, “It was the sense of this division between well us and sick them that led me to write, in 1960, a short novel called A Clockwork Orange. It is not, in my view, a very good novel… but it sincerely presented my abhorrence of the view that some people were criminal and others not. A denial of the universal inheritance of sin is characteristic of Pelagian societies like that of Britain, and it was in Britain, about 1960, that respectable people began to murmur about the growth of juvenile delinquency and suggest that the young criminals were a somehow inhuman breed and required inhuman treatment… There were irresponsible people who spoke of aversion therapy… Society, as ever, was put first. The delinquents were, of course, not quite human beings: they were

minors, and they had no vote; they were very much them as opposed to us, who represented society.” It should be noted that while the book was written as social commentary its exhibited a unique language and elaborate dress that earned the book a following. Told in Nadsat, a combination of Russian and Gypsy the punk apparel was popularized upon the books release. The book commences with the main character Alex on one of his nightly escapades. His first act is too, along with his thugs, or droogs, harass a man presumed to be some sort of teacher. After ripping apart his books, the group of four (including Alex), proceed to dislodge a number of his teeth and strip him down to his undergarments [Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange. 5-7]. Burgess perhaps intends this to be symbolic