A Clockwork Orange
First seven chapters introduce the main character of the story, a
Alex DeLarge. He and his friends - Pete, Georgie and Dim, live in a dystopian
future, hunting for terrible thrills. They enjoy ultra-violence, rape and
Apart from these, Alex is extremely fond of classical music, namely
Ninth. An example of their terrible deeds is something they call "the old
visit"; they raid a lonely country house where they attack a writer and
She's badly raped, which leads to her subsequent death, while her husband
ends up in
a wheelchair, half insane.
Alex is the leader of his gang and thus he's the one who makes decisions.
his mates get fed up with his rule and lure Alex into a trap. They
"old surprise visit" during which they wait outside, letting Alex carry
whole crime himself and consequently call the police and hold him back in
scene. Alex is apprehended and interrogated. Meanwhile, his last victim
hospital and Alex is put into custody.
Chapters eight to fourteen tell about Alex's stay in prison and about a
treatment brought in by the government. Alex is sentenced to 14 years in
murder. Nevertheless, he leaves the jail after two years; Alex and other
from his cell beat a newcomer, whom they don't like, to death. Alex is made a
scapegoat by others and is sent to undergo a new treatment in the Ludovico
Centre. There he's treated against violence and sex: Dr. Brodsky gives him
injections with some kind of special serum which makes him feel sick,
being shown particularly disgusting films full of violence, rape,
camps and the like. As the background score, they use Beethoven's music and
therefore Alex is being conditioned against it, too, which of course
for. He's fastened in a straitjacket and his eyelids are fixed, and so
to watch the films despite of the horrible sickness and mental anguish
compared to a
deathlike paralysis. Within 14 days he's 'cured' and free...
Last six chapters narrate Alex's return and effort to integrate into
After he's set free, he returns home only to find out his room in his
is let to a lodger and nobody's happy about seeing Alex back. All his
things were taken away, his snake Basil dead. Upset and downcast, Alex leaves
without having a clear idea about his destination. On his way through the
meets an old man who he and his gang had beaten up at the beginning of the
part and was given back what he deserved. Later, he encounters his former
with Billy-boy, another gang leader - both in the Police uniform. They
revenge, too - Alex realizes he's quite defenceless against violence
better for him to suffer the punches than feel the terrific sickness that
over him any time he only imagines being violent himself. Beaten up and
death, Alex walks through a wild storm when he finally comes to a country
knocked on the door to ask for help. At the very moment he looked into the
the house owner, he realized where he was and had been before - it was the
the writer... But Alex knew he was safe - at that time, he and his friends
wear disguises, so the writer wouldn't recognize him.
Alex is offered a hot bath and given some food and wine. Next day, the writer
invites some well-connected friends of his, intending to make a case out
life-story, aiming it at the Party and government. While talking to Alex,
notices that the boy uses some very strange words. Alex informs him that this
special language is called "NADSAT" and is used by all the teens.
was an unhappy clue which helped the writer recognize Alex being the one
for his own disability and his wife's death...
Government and party is forgotten, the half-insane writer decides to take his
revenge. Unsuspecting Alex is locked in a flat from where he cannot escape
Beethoven's Ninth which resounds all around. Alex is tortured by the
he sees the window as his only way out. Suicide will sort everything out.
Alex survives his suicide attempt. The government was criticized for bad
side-effects of the Ludovico treatment in the newspapers and they start being
interested in Alex's case. The Minister of Interior himself visits Alex in
He tries to get Alex on his side by showing his apparent interest,
offering him a good job
and salary after comes out of hospital. The Minister's intention is to make
Alex help him change the public opinion on the Government which has turned
publishing Alex's story in newspapers, blaming Government for everything.
present, the Minister brings Alex music - it's the Ninth. Alex is left
the music which harms him no more and he suddenly realizes he "was cured all
The 21st chapter
It begins very similarly to the first chapter, describing Alex, now aged
18, and his
new three friends, sitting in their favourite Korova Milk bar, drinking
Alex is tired of being ultra-violent himself, so he only gives orders to
his gang and
supervises. One night he gets bored even with that and visits a pub on his
where he encounters Pete, one of his former friends from the gang. We know
became a Policemen and earlier, Georgie had been killed. Pete is here with
Georgina. It makes Alex ponder over his life and suddenly he realizes he
to have a family, a son. Alex somehow becomes mature.
The 21st chapter wasn't originally published and Stanley Kubrick didn't cover
it in the film either. As far as we know, Anthony Burgess, the author, wasn't
particularly proud of the last chapter himself.
A Clockwork Orange in Film
The film was shot in 1971 by Stanley Kubrick. Malcolm McDowell appeared in
role. The soundtrack contained a lot of Beethoven music, especially the
course, and was mainly performed and/or arranged by Walter Carlos. The
was written by Stanley Kubrick, too (and is freely available on Internet),
are several discrepancies from the novel (e. g. Alex isn't disclosed by
the writer due
to Nadsat, but a song - "Singin In the Rain", which he sings during the
the country house as well as when coming there for the second time after
encounter with the "police" who had beaten him up; his stay in prison is
not covered in the film, but there is a scene from Alex's arrival to the
Alex isn't sent to the Ludovico Medical centre because of incorrect
behaviour but he
deliberately chooses it himself, addressing the Minister of Interior
visit in the State Jail and is eventually chosen by him.).
Nadsat is a special slang language of the teens invented by Anthony
"Nadsat" comes from Russian, meaning "Over ten", referring to teenagers.
based on English, Cockney (east-London rhyming slang) and Russian. A complete
dictionary (and even a translator!) can be found on Internet. Several
droog = friend (Russ.)
viddy = see (Russ.)
gulliver = head (Russ.)
pretty polly = money (Cockney)
slooshy = hear (Russ.)
On the other hand, In the Czech translation of the book, the basis of
English, for the translator found it a better choice for linguistic and
reasons. Apart from English, the Czech version of Nadsat is a mixture of
even Russian-based words, some gypsy talk and completely new words, which
by the author himself, too. Example of the "Czech" Nadsat:
hjumaníK = a man (Eng.)
rabbitit = to work (Rus.)
taštúk = handkerchief (Ger.)
školivol = school (new)
ACO on Internet
A lot of Clockwork orange can be found on youtube.com.
There is also a website dedicated to Malcolm McDowell where you can find many interesting materials on ACO, including the eBook novel!
V tomto e-shopu zakoupíte A Clockwork Orange
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Anthony Burgess: A Clockwork Orange (www.englishbooks.cz)