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Analysis

Literary Devices in A Clockwork Orange

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Known as "cancers" in nadsat, cigarettes are what the characters puff on when they need to appear cool or nonchalant (in the case of the "modern youth"), when they are being philosophical or anxiou...

Setting

Considering that the novel was written in the 1960s, we're probably well past the dystopian futuristic setting Burgess envisioned for this work. Come to think of it, though, what constitutes the "h...

Narrator Point of View

We only get what Alex hands us, so be mindful of both the perspective and biases inherent to a first-person narrative. The advantage to this is that we get extremely intimate with and engaged in Al...

Genre

The beauty of A Clockwork Orange is that it has its feet on four boats: dystopian novel, coming-of-age story, horror flick, and political satire. Arguably, there's a fifth philosophical commentary...

Tone

A Clockwork Orange is almost a foreign-language work because it is not written in British, American, or standard English; it features nadsat, a made up language incorporating elements of Cockney an...

Writing Style

As we discussed under "Tone," Burgess' clever and unique style owes much to his use of nadsat, which has its fair share of onomatopoeia to clue us in on what is being said (those of us who aren't e...

What's Up With the Title?

Superficially, "a clockwork orange" was just some lingo that author Anthony Burgess overheard among old Londoners. In Anthony Burgess's own words in the introduction entitled "A Clockwork Orange Re...

What's Up With the Ending?

The ending, or the 21st chapter of the book, provides closure to the book for some readers. In fact, this is the only chapter where our protagonist-narrator experiences growth, or more profoundly,...

Tough-o-Meter

Ultraviolence, droogs, milk: put 'em all together and you have a pretty grim tale on your hands (depending, of course, on whether or not you can get your hands on the infamous twenty-first chapter...

Plot Analysis

Alex and his entourage tear up the city and countryside, taking sheer joy engaging in ultra-violent crimes like mugging, robbery, gang fights, grand theft auto, vandalism, rape, and murder. He and...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis: Overcoming the Monster

The "monster" is the threat of becoming a "clockwork orange" – an extremely visceral threat that Alex faces as a result of having undergone Ludovico's Technique. After all, a man who is unabl...

Three Act Plot Analysis

Alex wages violent crimes in both the city and the countryside of a futuristic English state.Alex is imprisoned for his crimes, and forced to undergo behavioral therapy to be "cured" of his evil te...

Trivia

A Clockwork Orange was initially published in 1962. In the United States, the book was published with only twenty chapters. Elsewhere in the world, the book had twenty chapters. Apparently, this wa...

Steaminess Rating

To justify the R rating, let us quickly reference the following: "… real good horrorshow groodies they were that then exhibited their pink glazzies, O my brothers, while I untrussed and got r...

Allusions

Aristotle (1.1.8)P. B. Shelley (1.1.26)Henry VIII (1.1.26)Berti Laski (1.1.10) Elvis Presley (1.1.26) Jonny Zhivago (1.3.3) Friedrich Gitterfenster (1.3.3) Geoffrey Plautus (1.3.26) Mozart (1.3.28,...
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