A Clock Orange (1962) by Anthony Burgess is a famous satirical novel. It is written in a form of political commentary. The major anti-hero, Alex DeLarge, and his band robbed people depriving them of their freedoms and possibilities of moral choice. The dystopian society of A Clock Orange is a literary example of what autocratic regime could end up with. The writer proves that a society deprived of personal freedoms would go in wrong direction leading to irreversible and inevitable negative changes of the people. Burgess’s novel is satirical, because of the literary elements the writer employs. The writer clearly shows a society as a community of individuals who make their choices in life freely and thus can chose either right or wrong life path.
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The very idea that the events of the novel are set in the future make it interesting to the reader. It is well-known that people strive for predicting and envisioning their future by any means they have. Furthermore, the moral and ethical issues the writer raises in the novel have great importance not only for one society, but for the people of the whole world.
Burgess employs 1st person narration in this literary work. Alex is both a protagonist and the narrator of the story that makes the portrayal of the events much more expressive. It seems that the form of the main hero’s narration is changing as the story unfolds: at the beginning of the book a reader sees the events through Alex’s thinking, while in further chapters there are many detailed scenes and direct speeches presented to the reader. In such a way the protagonist is made very close to the reader so that anyone reading the novel can easily associate with Alex.
One of the literary devices which make the novel unique is special dialect of the language of the characters which has been worked out by Burgess himself. The slang of Alex and his gang is called Nadsat which comes from Russian suffix. There are many different nouns and verbs invented by the author of A Clockwork Orange. As explained by one of the characters of the novel this slang is a combination of rhyming slang derived from gypsy language as well as some Slavonic lingos.
Furthermore, the connotation of this language is the embodiment of the political power and propaganda of the former Soviet Union, where the totalitarian regime had deeply penetrated into people’s minds with the help of political ideology. The power of the Soviet communists was very strong; while the idea that socialism is the best way of living had actually become motto of the Russian nation. Thus, the language of the novel is special literary device used by the author to show the idea of dystopian society which lived according to the communistic ideas instilled in people’s minds.
Therefore, Soviet subliminal influence which can be read in-between the lines of the novel is the major anti-motto of the work. The writer attempts to show that such society with such political power which existed in Soviet Union is destined to self-destruction. It was based on false morality and wrong ethical codes. The reality what people thought to be authentic truth, turned out to be mere play of ideas in a form of propaganda. Hence, Burgess’s attitude which can be perceived while reading the novel is ironic.
To conclude, the novel is a very interesting literary piece for reading which gives unique ideas for reader’s digestion. The political and social issues related to autocratic regime such as the one of the former USSR represent the reality people believed to be truth. The language and other literary elements Burges employs in A clockwork Orange make the theme and the major political and social issues more impressive and thus closer to the reader.
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