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A Clockwork Orange (1 Viewer)

The Hack

Senior Member
I am routinely criticized for my list of favorite books. I'm told that it looks like I just took a literature class reading list and reproduced it as my favorites. Well, there is a reason you read those books in a literature class - they are great books.

One I have not seen on this board yet (but I am new) is Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange. When I go on vacations, I usually pack this book, as well as The Great Gatsby. They are both so well written, IMO and are short, easy reads. I could read both books 100 times, and have already read them four times each.

I often hear people discussing the Stanley Kubrick movie, A Clockwork Orange. I didn't necessarily dislike the movie, but it just does not do justice to the masterpiece that is Burgess' book.

This book was written a mere 40 years ago - does it qualify as a "Classic" yet?
 

ruksak

Senior Member
Sure it's a classic. A stunning book which I've read a couple of times myself - first to simply enjoy / second to increase my then beginner Russian.

Interesting though - I couldn't read any book 100 times when there are so many others out there waiting for me to open them!
 
E

Edgewise

I thought the movie was as close to reproducing the book accurately as any other book-movie rendition I have ever seen. The only things Kubrick really didn't include were the prison cell scenes, and Burgess' intended ending, which I never particularly liked anyways.

Great book. Should be required reading in all high school classes. Yes, it's a classic.
 

Ben

Senior Member
You didn't like the ending? How come?

It's pretty important in terms of structure and everything. Mind you, though, I've been studying it for English, so I've been picking up on things I normally wouldn't have. I still think I'd have liked the ending, anyway. Loved the book, but I think it's kind of sad that Burgess didn't really like the book himself, and felt that his other novels were far better.
 
E

Edgewise

I didn't like the ending because the whole book was hinged on the idea of choice, and to have an unhappy ending, I felt, would have hammered home the idea of free will, however misguided we percieve an individual. Free will, according to many accounts, is about the choice between good or evil.

(I am trying to justify my viewpoint without examples drawn directly from the book, in the hopes that I don't ruin it for anyone)
 

Linton Robinson

Senior Member
The entire point of Clockwork Orange is a brilliant endrun AROUND good and evil.

If you are a clockwork orange, it is saying...a living thing, but with mechanistic programming inside...then are your a choosing entity?

The good comes with the evil, you notice. Suppressing the violence also suprresses the music. Curing the repression of violence, with Alex (the conqueror) brilliant use of it to attain a state sinecure, ends up delivering him into the hands of the society he had escaped through his criminal career.

The film's ending is very good... a thorny moral knot. But the "aftermath" depicted in the book is wickeder yet... and points up the signature conflict of the book even more. It's hilarious that Georgie returns in this role, just as he and Dim popped again as policemen--agents of the repressive state itself.

It's one damn deep book and it's amazing that it was made into such a sensational movie without losing the philosophical import. I personally consider it the greatest picture ever made.

Another really insidious thing about the book: by the time you're through reading it, you know nadsat. You bought in to that extent just READING about it.
 

Mike C

WF Veterans
Lin said it all. Damn, another missed opportuity to look clever...

I don't think Burgess disliked the book, just the way it was sensationalised at the expense of his other work. Much the same as Kubrick's reasons for withdrawing the movie.

It's a modern classic, without question. Superbly crafted, and - unusually - without any moral bias. Most authors would have tried to steer the reader one way or another, whereas Kubrick maintains an amoral neutrality.
 

The Hack

Senior Member
I'm glad to see others on the board enjoyed the book as much as I did. Like I said, I didn't dislike the movie, it just didn't compare to the book for me. The thing that always bothered me was the age of Malcolm McDowell in the movie. I know that it would be difficult to find a well crafted actor who is really 15 years old, as Alex is in the book. But if I'm not mistaken, McDowell was nearly 30 when that movie came out. I just have trouble getting past that, plus the fact that the last chapter was omitted (as it was from the originally published US version of the book).

But it was a good movie, just the same. In sharp contrast to the lame attempt at adapting a portion of John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany into a movie (Simon Birch). To me, that was the worst butcher job of a great book that has ever graced the silver screen. I have heard that Irving fought to get the characters' names changed and disassociated himself with the film project all together - wise move.
 

Triquediqual

Senior Member
Was the movie just made to horrify people?? It seems "thee" reason for making it as there doesn't seem to be an interesting story behind it.
 

Linton Robinson

Senior Member
I am praying that was a tongue in cheek remark.

Hack, are you aware that A Wanting Seed is set in the same milieu as Orange? Not as gripping, but interesting. A future in which overpopulation is being combatted by officially promoting homosexuality.

One thing I always notice about the film is that is seems so much longer than other films. That's not a bad thing. It just packs so much into each scene and keeps shifting into different worlds with different emotional strata.
After the wild ride leading to Alex' arrest, you almost wait to see the credits. But no, suddenly we're in a prison and a whole new parameter starts opening up. Then he's released and there's a whole nother story. It just keeps unfolding.
 

The Hack

Senior Member
Lin, I do not know anything about A Wanting Seed, but if draws any comparisons to A Clockwork, I will make a point of reading it.

I also like how the book (and, as you point out, the movie) is structured into three distinct sections - mischeif, reform and consequences (my words for the sections, not Burgess'). My copy of the book is a more recent edition with the previously missing Chapter 21 in place. It has an introduction by Burgess, who discusses the structure of the book. The introduction heightens my respect for Burgess as a writer, which is difficult to do, as there is not much room to heighten after reading the book itself.
 

WordWeaver

Senior Member
The film version of "A Clockwork Orange," is very Kubrick-esque; Disturbing. Grim. The book is actually pretty funny. Especially when Alex is giving a little of the old, "In-Out." Hilarious.
 

elizabeth_472

Senior Member
I recently read A Clockwork Orange. Very good book. I am proud to say I can still speak nadsat (teenage Russian hooligan slang, as I call it). I govoreet a malenky bit of nadsat real like horrorshow, O My Brothers.
 

Linton Robinson

Senior Member
The film version of "A Clockwork Orange," is very Kubrick-esque; Disturbing. Grim. The book is actually pretty funny.
How long since you saw the movie. It has a lot of funny stuff and would hesitate to call it "grim". The William Tell Overture Scene alone.... Kubrick couldn't have known that nowadays everybody can slow it down.
And how about the Swan Lake rape?
Or the guard smiling when Alex can't get it up for the demo model?
It's a richly comic film.

Warning, Hack. Wanting Seed is by no means the quality or level of excitement that Clockwork Orange is. But you might give it a peek and see what you think.

I still bandy nadsat around myself, Elizabeth. It was a common jargon for my brothers and I. But it's actually ENGLISH hooligan slang. Burgess explains that the Russian words like "horosho" for good enter the language subliminally from Russian propoganda broadcasts.
 
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Heid

Senior Member
This is currently in a pile of books on my window sill that I am planning to read over summer. We have the film which I have yet to see, partly because I am uncomfortable with rape scenes in film, but for some reason I can cope with it in books.

I'm looking forward to reading it next.
 

Dabnorfish

Senior Member
A fantastic book. Bought it on holiday and devoured it in no time at all. I'd already watched the film several times (albeit with the colours too strong and Dutch subtitles, but it was the best copy I could get, with it being banned). I'm with the people who liked the ending to the book though.
 

good_i_mean_well

Senior Member
This is my favorite book, but I hated the movie. I thought the movie was much less disturbing than the book, like I remember in the book the video's Alex was forced to watch were way worse than the ones in the book, and also the violence in the beginning was less than the book, and when he beat some guy up in jail he did it pretty bad.

Also I felt the movie was set too far into the future. Like at the bar there is a bartender, but in the movie it's a statue of a naked woman and the drinks come out of her breast, which I think is weird. Also Burgress never said they were strangly dressed or anything, he just keeps saying "dress in the height of fashon," which does not imply some distant way of dressing. While I was reading the book I felt this was happening in the very near future, which means the point of the book is more applicable today. However in the movie it takes place in some far off place of time, and if the theme was there it may or may not apply today, but the last chapter is missing, so it's impossible to figure out the point of the book. In short overall I hated the book.

Anyways, my overview of a clockwork orange is different than other people's, so I was wondering what you all think.

**SPOILER ALERT**
STOP READING THIS POST IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THE BOOK YET
**SPOILER ALERT**


IMO the whole point of the book is for someone to become an upright citizen or whatever it has to be freely chosen. Alex was no alloted that so when he was older he hadn't gone anywhere, but one of the people in his old crew had a girlfriend or something and was then "an upright citizen." Which relates to the hippie movement which happened around the same time. What do you all think?

On whether or not it is a classic I think yes, simply based on the quality of the work and not based on time, just because a book is old doesn't make it a classic
 
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DamionAlexander

Senior Member
I loved the book, but I also enjoyed the movie. Personally I like the ending in the American version and in the movie better than the English version of the book. He shouldn't grow out of being a sociopath.
 
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