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  1. #1
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    Question Please Review and Comment.

    Assignment #4: Select two versions of the same story-- a book versus the movie of the same story (ie. Memoirs of a Geisha), a movie and the remake (King Kong) or a movie and a sequel (x-men)(these are all only examples- use any specific ones you wish) and write a comparison of the two. Refer to Chapter 9 in Wyrick for information on writing comparison.

    Please review & comment. Corrections & suggestions welcomed.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    ''A Clockwork Orange'' Comparison Essay

    Singing in the rain, I'm singing in the rain…." This haunting refrain begins the transition from reality into nightmare. Anthony Burgess's contemporary novel, A Clockwork Orange, and Stanley Kubrick's outstanding movie, "A Clockwork Orange", (Based upon Burgess’s novel) have been described as one of the most terrifying yet extraordinary pieces ever to be created, on screen or off.

    A Clockwork Orange is a disturbing fantasy of England’s future, where teen-agers neglect the laws of society, and take control of the streets after dark. The novel's main character, fifteen-year-old Alex, and his three 'droogs,' (friends) Pete, Georgie and Dim, engage in all-night acts of random violence and total destruction. Alex is eventually betrayed by his so-called mates. After being caught by the police for killing an innocent lady, he is taken to prison. Alex manages to become the subject in the first full-scale trial of the Ludovico technique. The technique itself is a form of aversion therapy, in which Alex is given a drug that induces extreme nausea while being forced to watch graphically violent films for 2 weeks. At the end of the treatment, Alex is unable to carry out or even contemplate violent acts without crippling nausea. Upon his release, he is found by a man whose wife had been raped by Alex and his friends. The man uses Alex to show how the rehabilitated criminals are just mindless pawns in the cynical hands of the authorities. Ultimately Alex goes insane and tries to commit suicide by throwing himself out a window.


    One of the important similarities between the novel and the movie is the interpretation of the true meaning of “a clockwork orange". The explanation is the basis for the entire story. Burgess wrote that “a creature who can only perform good or evil is 'a clockwork orange’ - meaning that he has the appearance of an organism lovely with color and juice, but is in fact only a clockwork toy to be wound up by God or the Devil; or (since this is increasingly replacing both) the almighty state.” In both the book and the movie, Alex depicted as something mechanical that appears to be organic. Although Alex is human, and possesses free will, he cannot in fact make any decisions on his own. He is being used like a machine by the government, to do whatever they desire with him.

    That similarity spawns the difference in how the government proves Alex to be like "a clockwork orange". In the novel, they prove it by showing Alex certain grotesque pictures and asking him what he felt. In the movie, they prove it by placing him on a stage with actors and presenting it in front of the important members of the government. "Please, I must do something. Shall I clean your boots? Look, I'll get down and lick them." (Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange) Alex says this in the movie after having been kicked in the ‘gulliver’ (head) by the actor's boot, which demonstrates Alex's mechanical change into "a clockwork orange."

    Another similarity is the use of the Nadsat language. The Nadsat language is the vocabulary of the teenagers in the future, much like today’s Cockney Rhyming Slang. It is important for it to be in both the book and movie because the language shows the difference between the violent teenagers and the intellectual aristocracy of this nightmarish future. "Well well well well well. What giveth then, old droogie?" 'Nobody seemed to quite pony that, but somebody said in like a harsh goloss:' "Be more respectful, boy, in addressing the Minister." (A Clockwork Orange, p. 173) This passage taken from the novel exemplifies how teenagers talked and that no one else seemed to understand (pony) what Alex was saying, except that it "had to be disrespectful."

    A huge difference between the novel and the movie is the second encounter with the man whose wife had been raped and killed by Alex and his friends. In the novel the man is exactly the same as he was before except for his wife having been killed. The man, F. Alexander, asks to hear Alex's story. While listening to it he recognizes the name Dim and realizes for the first time that Alex is one of the hoodlums who raped his wife that terrible night. In the morning the man calls Alex down to eat breakfast. On the way Alex takes the time to roam around in the man's bedroom where he finds the man’s name, on a book. The reader is left to assume that F. Alexander is responsible for driving Alex to jump out of the window from sheer madness.



    Unlike the novel, the second encounter in the movie is completely different. The man, having been beaten so badly in the first encounter, is now in a wheelchair. He is accompanied by a huge, strong man who helps F. Alexander do all the things that a wheelchair restricts him from doing. Alex is offered a hot bath, during which he sings the song Singing in the Rain. F. Alexander recognizes Alex’s voice and the song from the night he was beaten and his wife raped. He drugs Alex's drink rendering him unable to ever know the man's name (F. Alexander) and proves that F. Alexander is responsible for Alex going insane and jumping out the window.

    The graphic descriptions of violence in the book and the juxtaposition of Alex’s rendition of Singing in the Rain ala Gene Kelly during the rape of Mrs. F Alexander in the movie are probably the most disturbing things ever produced in the horror genre. They both leave me with just one final thought, is this how the world will be in the future?

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Please Review and Comment.

    I think this needs tidying up:
    Although Alex is human, and possesses free will, he cannot in fact make any decisions on his own. He is being used like a machine by the government, to do whatever they desire with him.
    In the first part of both book and film, he has free wil, but the government treatment removes his ability to exerise his free will- he still wants to do bad things, but the pain and nausea stop him. I think that you should ualify your statement about the governemnt to make it clear when they control him: otherwise, it sounds as if you mean throughout the book.

    You could also bring out some of the other differences that are most likely the result of the transfer to the cinema- the glamourising of things, like his home, the increase in age of the two girls he has sex with.

    Also, does your edition of the book have the last chapter describing his life after the hosptial? It's a rather sickly ending, and the edition eending in the hospital is much more menacing and better.


    BTW, congratulations on the other piece.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Please Review and Comment.

    No, I've got the American version (without the last chapeter).

    I know it's kinda rough, thats why I posted it. I have a tendancey to mix my tense as well.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Please Review and Comment.

    I got 94/100 on this paper. Thanks again for all your help!

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Please Review and Comment.

    Well done. It's better without the last chapter. Great book, though, and movie.

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