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A Clockwork Orange: Futuristic Fantasy

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Introduction

A Clockwork Orange: Futuristic Fantasy? A Clockwork Orange is a book with a moral. More than that, it is a warning: a caution to the 1960s society of which Burgess was a part. His predictions of the world to come are bloody and his depictions of militant regimes and totalitarian states are fantastic and profound. But they are not so far from the truth as one would think... Burgess formed his picture of Alex's world in the world he saw around him in the 1960s. This is most notable in the language that is used. It is absolutely full of Russian words: "horrorshow", "krovvy", "ptitsa", and "tolchock". This is of course a reference to the Soviet regime, which ruled over the USSR with an iron fist. At the time the Cold War was in full force, animosity was high and Soviet communism posed a real threat to the western democracies. But it is possible that Burgess was depicting the future world as well as his own. ...read more.

Middle

They are from a time when people had a choice. The fall of literature and art is synonymous with the abolition of freedom. Literature, art and architecture are forms of expression - and in Alex's world they do not exist, only in fleeting references and novelty masks. There is the boys' appearance: the so-called "heighth of fashion" for their day. In many respects it is similar to fashion of the 1960s. The outrageous styles, indicated by the "old jelly mould... fitting on the crotch under the tights", funnily shaped into flowers, spiders and a "clown's litso". And there are also the very bright colours - "purple and green and orange wigs on their gullivers". Rather unusually the boys also wear make-up. There are two possible explanations for this. The first is the most obvious: the boys want to be different. They are hitting out against organised state-control. The second reason is much more subtle: at the time Burgess wrote the novel, a sexual revolution was taking place; in particular, women were more free to take on the traditionally masculine practices, such as pursuing a career. ...read more.

Conclusion

Burgess was not for violent revolution of any kind. A Clockwork Orange is a frightening prediction of the world to come if it continues to grant people so much power, and not a warning of how the world will be if state control continued. Eventually all of this freedom would necessitate state control, as it exists in Alex's time. Burgess was for a certain degree of control - the use of Russian words in his novel, as explained above, is evidence for this. Although few people would agree with me, that is what I believe. Burgess's novel was indeed written as a warning to those in his time. But despite the frightening depiction of state control, I do not think Burgess was so opposed to it as some people claim. I would only say that the totalitarian regime of Alex's time is an example of an extreme form of state control that is certainly wrong, but only because of its severity. Burgess's warning was not aimed at the government; it was aimed at those who dreamt of revolution. Only one thing is certain: the connotations are clear, and A Clockwork Orange is definitely not just a fantasy novel. ...read more.

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