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A Clockwork Orange Essay: The Future Dystopia

The Future Dystopia in A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange is an anti-utopian novel, describing an imminent future in a stately supervised country. The hero Alex revolts against the state using violence and is therefore locked up. Later he is turned into a harmless subject without free will, incapable of committing any crime.

Burgess paints a future outlook of a land that is still committed to democracy, yet has already adapted radical methods facing youth criminality. There are several indications leading to the supposition that the general form of the government is a socialist one, e.g. the teenage slang called Nadsat which handles chiefly Russian vocabulary, streets named after personalities like Yuri Gagarin and paintings of nude working men in the style of Russian socialist art. So the state is on the say to become totalitarian, after the example of many communist countries.

In addition Alex lives in a society which lacks individualism and opposition. Under the strict governmental rule ordinary citizens are deceived end benumbed by TV and drugs. Moreover books and newspapers are hardly read, theatres and cinemas rarely visited. Everything is done to prevent normal subjects from thinking.

The few people representing an opposition against the government are hooligans like Alex and political reactionaries like Mr. Alexander and his friends. Hooligans are relatively held under control by a strong police force, reactionaries don’t have any support from the people. Indeed there is a regular opposition in the country, yet it seems to come into terms with the ruling party.

This leads us back to Burgess’ opinion that we should not trust the state. The hero Alex is in fact …

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…tine Books, 1984, (1965), S. 171-177

Hahn, Ronald M. und Volker Jansen. Uhrwerk Orange, in: Hahn, Ronald M. und Volker Jansen. Kultfilme: Von “Metropolis” bis “Rocky Horror Picture Show”. 4. Auflage. München: Wilhelm Heyne Verlag, 1990, (1985), S. 293-303

Kagan, Norrnan. A Clockwork Orange, in: Kagan, Norman. The Cinema of Stanley Kubrick. New Expanded Edition. New York:

The Continuum Publishing Company, 1989, ( 1972), S.167-187

Melchior, Claus. Zeittafel zu Leben und Werk von Anthony Burgess, in: Burgess, Anthony. A Clockwork Orange. 1. Auflage. Stuttgart: Phillip Reclam jun., 1992, S. 247-249

Melchior ,Claus. Nachwort, in: Burgess, Anthony. A Clockwork Orange. 1. Auflage. Stuttgart: Phillip Reclam jun., 1992, S. 251-260

Rabinovitz, Rubin: Ethical Values in Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange, in: Studies in the Novel, 11 (1979) S. 43-50

Fire on the Home Front – The Possessive

Fire on the Home Front – The Possessive

General Douglas Macarthur said that “the best time to meet the threat [of war] is in the beginning. It is easier to put out a fire in the beginning when it is small than after it has become a roaring blaze” (qtd. in Urofsky, part 9). The mother in Sharon Olds’ “The Possessive” undoubtedly feels the same way. War is a terrible time between two or more nations that fight to part from each other or for some other reason; nations fight over property rights and independence. In “The Possessive,” Olds uses powerful images of war, such as helmets, blades, and fires to show how her daughter is similar to a warring country that has pulled away from her.

Sharon Olds states “In her bright helmet / she looks at me as if across a great distance” (Olds, 506). The helmet exemplifies the imagery that Olds uses to show the warlike tone in her poem. In modern day wars people see pictures of Cruise missiles and Stealth Bombers on CNN. However, when asked what they envision when they think about war, some will talk about guns, knives, helmets, and fires. As Olds talks about her daughter, she realizes that there is an impending battle yet to come. This battle, too, will be about possession. When her daughter sits in the barber’s chair, Olds realizes that her daughter will soon reach her teens. The teenage years are a time when parents battle over cars, boys, and other rights with there children. The children and parents will fight over haircutting rights. As Olds reports, her daughter “has been to the barber, that knife grinder, / and had the edge of her hair sharpened” (506). Knife grinding and sharp objects are another image of war. Soldiers must be sure that their instruments are perfectly sharp if they want to win the war. The first time Olds things about the upcoming battle occurs during the warlike image of the haircut. These first warlike images set the tone of the rest of the piece.

The most vivid and important warlike image that Olds uses in “The Possessive” is the image of fire. The fire imagery appears more than once in the piece. Olds writes that “Distant fires can be / glimpsed in the resin light of her eyes” (506).

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