• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Discuss Burgess’s language in the opening chapter: how does he depict the world of Alex and his friends as being in conflict with the “outside”? (10 marks)

Extracts from this document...


A Clockwork Orange: Chapter One An Analysis Discuss Burgess's language in the opening chapter: how does he depict the world of Alex and his friends as being in conflict with the "outside"? (10 marks) One gets an initial impression of Alex and his friends from the first page: Alex says, "There was me... and my three droogs". Immediately this suggests that he and his friends are close, like a gang, and this leads on to the idea of conflict. The closeness of Alex and his friends is elaborated upon throughout the chapter. He frequently uses the phrase "The four of us" and, when speaking to Pete, Georgie and Dim, he says, "Oh my brothers". Their close camaraderie is summed up on page six, where Alex describes it as being "usually one for all and all for one". Then he begins to describe three "devotchkas", whom one presumes to be members of a rival gang (the reader is told that Alex and his friends are "malchicks"). There is no brevity in Alex's description, and he goes into detail when describing the clothes and make-up. ...read more.


The boys do not use this language when speaking to people who are not involved in gang warfare. To the man coming out of the library, Alex is polite and uses mostly understandable language. It is obviously because he is mocking the man, but it is also possibly because he would not understand (since it seems that he speaks normally). So this is their language, something they use to each other. This is a straightforward example of their conflict with the "outside". But the language not only acts as a barrier between the four boys and the older members of society: it also acts as a barrier between the boys and the readers. For anyone starting the book for the first time, the words used are baffling, and it takes a lot of getting used to. What is more, Alex feels the need to explain what some of the words mean: "...a rooker (a hand, that is)". It is at this point that the readers become, in effect, a part of the society that Alex is rebelling against. ...read more.


This is backed up by the fact that any kind of law enforcement is not mentioned until later in the chapter. These "millicents" are obviously not important and Alex and his friends can easily outsmart them. So, in effect, there is no law enforcement. Early on, the only indication that some sort of legal system exists is the fact that "mestos" were not licensed to sell liquor (which does not seem to stop them any way). Another aspect of society that is not missing, but seems unpopular, is that of literature. Alex reports that "newspapers {are not} read much" - whether this is because of illiteracy or just lack of interest, one is unsure. The Public Biblio, which is the derelict-sounding municipal library, was something that "not many lewdies used those days". Again, the reason why is not clear. Owing to the other "past-times" of the day, namely ultra-violent criminal activities, it is likely that nobody is interested in literature any more. This certainly fits in with the way in which Alex and his friends persecute a man just because they saw him coming out of the library with books in his hand. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Anthony Burgess section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Anthony Burgess essays

  1. How do the writers of Riddley Walker and A Clockwork Orange present the ...

    Alex is still living with his parents. However Alex is not the same. He realises that what he really wants is to settle down, get married and have a family. It appears at first that the outlook for Alex and society is optimistic.

  2. A Clockwork Orange - review

    This is a world in which Burgess can exaggerate the future problems of society and reflect upon the absurdity of them. Another characteristic of this novel is the blurring of normal understanding, or the frustration of accepted expectations (Kris). Alex takes every chance to scoff at books, education, and learning.

  1. A Clockwork Orange - critique.

    To be forced to do good is truly wrong. If one is forced to do right, and he does what is right, it is not out of any ethical or moral conviction. When one does what he is forced to do, he is merely a programmed pawn of the state (Hausey).

  2. Questions on 'A Clockwork Orange' by Anthony Burgess.

    haw still, and real hororshow groodies they were...while I untrussed and got read for the plunge". This is not that graphic, taking into consideration what is actually happening.

  1. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess.

    The novel revolves around one criminally minded teen, Alex, whose world consists of rape, murder, and ruthless violence. Alex is eventually set up 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.

  2. A Clockwork Orange

    The way he treats Alex decently, allow us as readers to actually like him but in the back of my mind I am suspicious of the discharge officer, as I feel he is going to let us down in the same way as the previous characters did.

  1. Violence in A Clockwork Orange

    Either Alex and his cellmates do not see the consequences of their actions, or they see it as a case of not being able to be punished for it further, since they are already in the worst place they could be.

  2. “ To what extent does Alex have his own freedom of thought”

    " Goodness comes from with, 6655321, goodness is something chosen, he who cant choose, ceases to be a man" Burgess has deliberately intended the thoughts and feelings of the reader to sway during the novel. As the novel progresses Alex looses his choice - consequently becoming " A Clockwork Orange", which changes the reader's attitude towards him.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work