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Using the extracts from Dead Man in Deptford and Any Old Iron, and the whole of A Clockwork Orange, discuss the effectiveness of Burgess’ wide and varied use of language and dialect.

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Introduction

Language and Dialect in A Clockwork Orange Using the extracts from Dead Man in Deptford and Any Old Iron, and the whole of A Clockwork Orange, discuss the effectiveness of Burgess' wide and varied use of language and dialect. If I were to begin this essay with a foreign word, a phrase that had been obsolete for four hundred years, and a totally incoherent sentence, complete with fabricated slang terms, then the fair or foul reader ("but where's the difference") would probably dismiss it and I would receive an 'F'. And yet I would be imitating the style of one of the twentieth century's prolific and widely discussed authors: Anthony Burgess. In every novel that he has written, Burgess has displayed a love of, and an acute skill for, words and word-craft, which a blacksmith might display in his trade. As soon as I started to read A Clockwork Orange, I wanted to put it down again. ...read more.

Middle

Instead he concentrates on the description of his surroundings, using the word "white" many times. The lack of slang contributes to this description and tells the reader what Alex is thinking at that moment. Here, for instance, he is wary of his new environment and not yet comfortable enough to use his familiar language. A third explanation for Burgess use of language lies in the variety of the various characters, in the novel and both extracts. This is where dialect and implied accent become very important. Any Old Iron provides a good example in Dai Williams. His speech does not really include unfamiliar words and phrases, but there is a huge difference in his style. Let's take the sentence, "Back to it with your youth and your vigour and it is your shout now". Its length, enhanced by the use of "and" and the repetition of "your", seems to imply the intonation and speed with which it should be read. ...read more.

Conclusion

Marlowe enjoys what is happening, like Alex. But also like Alex, when Marlowe is describing violence later on in the novel (the executions), there is a complete lack of enjoyment and fancy wordplay. As a side note, there is one extra reason why our great philologist Mr Burgess uses such language and dialect. It is for the simple reason that it is vastly enjoyable, both for him and for the reader. In Clockwork and Dead Man, Burgess has had the opportunity to create words and styles that go against the rules of contemporary English (this is true of Dead Man because there are no records of how Elizabethan citizens spoke). At first this can prove to be extremely irritating and demanding, and the reader feels the need to reach for a dictionary after every sentence. It is particularly annoying because the reader knows that this is English, a language he or she should understand, and yet it is totally incomprehensible. But I personally enjoy immense satisfaction by simply reading the novel without help, and interpreting the words in my own time. It soon becomes easy and very rewarding. ...read more.

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