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A Clockwork Orange: The Story Behind the Movie

            Born on February 25th 1917, Jack Wilson (later known as Anthony Burgess) would become one of the most influential English writers of our time. Burgess was born in Manchester and attended the University of Manchester. After spending six years as a war-time soldier, he went on to lecture at Birmingham University. Burgess wrote his first three novels: Time for a Tiger (1956), The Enemy in the Blanker (1958), and Beds in the East (1959), while serving as an education officer in the Colonial Service based in Borneo and Malaya. He will be best remembered by his eighth novella, A Clockwork Orange. For this book, he composed a language which combines English, American, and Russian slang. After the release in 1971 of the motion-picture version by American director Stanley Kubrick, the work gained a cult following. This "clockwork cult" fueled movie goers, including myself, to read the original work by Burgess. .
             The novella is set in London, England around the year 2000. It is told from first person limited through the character Alex. He is the type of character one loves to hate; he makes it all too easy to dislike him. He is a brutal, violent, teenage criminal with no place in society. His one and only role is to create chaos, which he does too well. After being framed and abandoned by his "droogs," he is arrested. This is when the main conflict arrives, what should be done to a person who has committed a violent crime? The book begins at the Korova Milkbar, and followed by this are various crimes including, the beating of an old homeless man, killing a woman and many other violent acts.
             Language and diction are the key elements of style in this novella. He describes his life of crime in a style of language rendered in "nadsat." Also, Burgess is excellent at using creative imagery to portray the events taking place. Alex says, "His platties were a disgrace, all creased and untidy and covered in cal" (13), regarding the elderly drunkard whom him and his pals beat mercilessly.

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