Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Dystopian Fiction – A Clockwork Orange

Those of you who know me knows that next to studying journalism I’m studying English Literature, and this year I have a module called Dystopian Fiction. I can’t really figure out if I really like it or not, but we do read some interesting novels. The last one we read was a rather interesting and famous novel, called A Clockwork Orange, written by Anthony Burgess. I’m sure lots of people have heard about the film, and this is the book that the film is based upon.
The book was published in 1962, but the film came in 1971. The film was banned for a few years, and that is one of the reasons why you can say that this famous story has become a cult classic. 
Malcolm McDowell, playing Alex in the film
For those of you who do not know what a dystopia is: an imaginary place or state in which everything is extremely bad or unpleasant. It is also set in the future, and in most of the novels we have read this year the characters do not know how our time was but is extremely interested in knowing. Or our time is their time. It is not a good place to live in, and the state is controlling everything. A Clockwork Orange is perhaps one of the most famous dystopian novels there is, and that is why I’m choosing this novel to be the first one I’m writing about.

The novel is about 15 year old Alex and his “droogs”, or friends, and how they are enjoying ultra violence, rape, drugs and Beethoven’s Ninth. They are all rampaging through their dystopian world where they are hunting for terrible thrills. They fight, they steal, they rape and they enjoy everything about it. The police are almost non-existing, so there is really no one to look after London, which is where the story is set. After a series of unfortunate events, at least for Alex, he’s convicted for murder and something changes inside of him. He finds himself at the mercy of the state and becomes quite close to the governments psychologist, and he then discovers that the fun he used to have is no longer the order of the day.

The use of language in this novel is rather extraordinary, and quite a great achievement. It is very strong, and you can understand the characters by the way they are written about and the way they talk. The film has managed to translate this to the screen very well, with both the language and the music written about. In my opinion you either love or hate the way it is written.

Then, brothers, it came. Oh, bliss, bliss and heaven. I lay all nagoy to the ceiling, my gulliver on my rookers on the pillow, glazzies closed, rot open in bliss, slooshying the sluice of lovely sounds. Oh, it was gorgeousness and gorgeosity made flesh. The trombones crunched redgold under my bed, and behind my gulliver the trumpets three-wise silverflamed, and there by the door the timps rolling through my guts and out again crunched like candy thunder.

This is a passage from the book, and as you can see the language is quite special. The language used here is turning the experience into poetry, and that is something you cannot find anywhere but in the novel.
I would recommend this book if you are interested in literature and the written language, but not if you’re looking for something fun or easy to read.

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