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Clockwork Orange Essay

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Clockwork Orange

In all of my reading, I have come to the conclusion that Anthony Burgess is one of the greatest literary genius’s of the twentieth century. His masterpiece, A Clockwork Orange, is unrivaled in obvious depth, insight, and innovation. The novel is a work of such quality, such perfection, that it seems to be genuinely written by a literary demigod.

The novel's main theme deals with free choice and spiritual freedom. More specifically, "[The ethical promise that 'A man who cannot choose ceases to be man'] can be taken as both the explicit and implicit themes of the novel" (Morgan 104). Anthony Burgess expresses his view that no matter how "good" one's actions are, unless one has free moral choice, he is spiritually damned.

The novel revolves around one criminally minded teen, Alex, whose world consists of rape, murder, and ruthless violence. Alex is eventually setup by his "droogs" (friends) and is arrested and jailed. After some time in jail, Alex is placed in a new rehabilitating program that uses electro-shock therapy, new medicines, and exposure to violent film. The program breaks all that Alex holds dear and builds him up with a new artificial conscience. This part of the novel "presents the reader with a new, reformed Alex, an Alex without free will or freedom of choice, an Alex who has become a victim"
Burgess considers this lack of freedom to be spiritually murderous and terribly wrong. Burgess knows that it is better to choose to be evil, than to be forced to be good. Alex is tormented by his new state of oppression. He is incapable of making any choice; he must always do what is good. Alex is then taken under the wing of a writer who is fighting the oppressive government. The writer...


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...a way that appears to distance it.
Stanley: If this occurs it may be because the story both in the novel and the film is told by Alex, and everything that happens is seen through his eyes. Since he has his own rather special way of seeing what he does, this may have some effect in distancing the violence. Some people have asserted that this made the violence attractive. I think this view is totally incorrect.

Bibliography:

Coale, Samuel, Anthony Burgess (1981); Mathews, Richard, The Clockwork Universe of Anthony Burgess (1978).

Kagan, Norman, The Cinema of Stanley Kubrick (1989); Nelson, Thomas Allan, Kubrick: Inside A Film Artist's Maze (1982);

Phillips, Gene, Stanley Kubrick: A Film Odyssey (1975); Walker, Alexander, Stanley Kubrick Directs, rev. ed. (1972).

English to Russian Dictionary (1996). “A Clockwork Orange” (1963); Burgess, Anthony


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