A Clockwork Orange Diction Analysis

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The first chapter of Anthony Burgess’s novel A Clockwork Orange begins unlike anything we have ever read. From the first sentence to the last, the reader is faced with vocabulary that is unfamiliar and a narrative style that demands careful attention. This essay will focus primarily on diction and its historical context but also on the novel’s form.

First of all, the unfamiliar language in this novel, while it may be straining, is ultimately intriguing. The invented Nadsat language, a prime example of linguistic experiments on the part of the author, left readers baffled. There was no glossary or explanation accompanying the words which are a mix of Russian and English. Wanting to read the novel meant that the reader had to learn a minimum
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For instance, there are numerous repetitions that appear on the page like clockwork. The most striking one is the question ‘What’s it going to be then, eh?’ which divides the text into parts depicting separate events. The title and the various repetitions of the words ‘like’, ‘a sort of’, ‘a bit of’ and ‘type’ illustrate the repetitive nature as well as the vagueness inherent in the world and the people living in it. These expressions, however, also represent the youth’s way of speaking which is still unpolished due to their young…show more content…
It is startling to read how nonchalantly teenagers talk about violence, drugs and minors engaging in sex. Thus, it is not astonishing that the novel caused outrage among its readers in the 1960s even though the story is fictional and set in the future. The novel initially appears to be straightforward in its critique of society, but only an in-depth analysis of A Clockwork Orange which engages with the author’s word choice and structure illuminates the important issues. Contemporary society is presenting dystopian aspects to a worrying degree: teenage delinquency, social decay, violence and indifference. I would argue that Anthony Burgess wants to draw attention to the changing society of his time, especially the urban landscape that has seen the development of teenage gang culture and the growing tension between countries over conflicting
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