Analisi e confronto tra il film arancia meccanica e il libro



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Charter I- Introduction……………….page X
Charter II- Plot ….……….…………page X
Chapter III- Language Eng vs Rus….…page X
Chapter IV- Other stylistic devices……page X
Chapter V - Comparison and contrast…page X
Chapter VI – Conclusion………….…page X

Chapter I

The twentieth century was a century marked by the expansion of industries and by the World Wars, cause of men’s loss in reliability for his securities and capabilities. This may be reflected in men’s works, such as literature and movies. The novel A Clockwork Orange, written by Anthony Burgess, and the homonymous movie explore the concept of growth and maturity together with the uncertainties for the (near) future from the point of view of a British and, probably, of a more optimistic American society. In this in depth study I will try to put in evidence the differences between the points of view of these two similar societies by comparing and contrasting the “same” story and the stylistic devices used both in the book and the movie. My research begins with the opening of the dictionary to look for and comprehend the meaning of the word “clockwork” used in the title: “to happen according to plan; to happen without difficulties”1. This, by knowing the story fairly well from having already seen the movie, helped me to realize the decision of using this word as one of the main words (if not the main one) for the title: to show the possibility of this near future becoming true almost as if it were inevitable. This book, by using this term expresses the pessimism of the mid 1900’s. Another possible reason for this title is also given by the book itself (in the introduction) which states the adaptation “from a piece of slang: as queer as a clockwork orange”2, meaning very queer indeed. Because of its form and content, it may be stated that this meaning may have to do with the story because of its “realistic queerness”. It is possible to note that the title demonstrates both queerness and constance because of the book’s and movie’s content and mostly, by the decade that separated the publication of the book and the launching of the movie (the book was first published in 1962 while the movie was shown as a premiere in 1971; it came out on the screen for the general public in 1972).
Chapter II

The book and the movie have various minor differences in the plots. Both the book and the movie narrate the story “somewhere in Europe, circa 1972”3 of a teenager named Alex (later we will understand the choice of this name instead of another one). He commits various crimes such as robberies and rapes and ends his criminal carrier when he accidentally commits homicide. He gets betrayed by his droogs (friends), jailed and suffers the accusations of other imprisoned criminals that accuse him unjustly for another homicide. He then decides to apply to a government program named the “Ludovico Technique” that will make him reject violence by causing him aches that will eventually lead to a sense of nausea when even the thought of violence passes through his mind. All this, together with some collateral effects of the Ludovico program which will result in the disgust of Beethoven’s music and lead him to an attempt in suicide. By doing this, he will become one of the objects of propaganda against the corrupted government; a government that will give him anything not to make this information become bad propaganda.
Finally, after being cured of only doing good, by having the possibility of doing what he wanted whenever he wanted (due to his insensivity; he could not feel pain nor nausea because he was badly wounded), he will start walking in the street starting to think about his future and envy an old friend of his who grew up and had a family; eventually, he will mature realizing that what he has done is wrong and that happiness may also come from the birth of a son or from a hot dinner prepared by a loving wife: “…and my hot dinner laid on the table, there I should find what I really wanted…”4. Another important fact is the difference in stylistic devices because of obvious reasons (one is a movie while the other is a book) even though some could have fitted in the movie.
Chapter III
One of the major stylistic devices used in the novel is language. It may seem strange but the author invents a completely new style of writing by creating a fictitious language for the novel which Burgess names nadsat. This is a transliteration for the Russian suffix for “teen”. The use of combining two languages in the slang of Alex and his friends use gives the book more excitement because it shows the elasticity of English. Also, this shows that what will happen is probably could happen anywhere in Europe (where most of the Second World War took place) and in the near future. Some of the words that are used in the nadasat language are words that are usually words used in common language and may be easily comprehensible from the text while reading, others are harder to comprehend. This may be compared to an adult was hearing a conversation in slang between two teenagers, giving us the role of the adult and the role to the teenagers to Alex and his friends. Examples of these words may be Droogs that derives from drugi (friends in violence), Devotchka that derives from woman or wife, Cancers replace cigarettes and Bog which is the synonym for God. The last, though, shows a touch of humour. All these words are the demonstration of English entangled with other words of Slavic origin. The use of this device may be seen also in the name of the main character: Alex. Alex in Latin is a word that means without laws. In fact it derives from the suffix A (used by Latins) and by the Latin word for law: lex. It is the perfect name for a teenager who commits crime and does not follow the law.
Other words, though have the same meaning of the ones said before, but may have also another use. For example, the word for “work” is rabbit, which may both derive from the Russian word rabotat, but it may also symbolize slavery and be a criticism towards a modern society that puts work in front of everything; this is suggested by slavery and also by the vague resemblance to the word robot. Another example is the use of the word millicents to replace policemen; this is to create a sense of humour in the book.
Irony may be seen also in the novel when Alex is being “treated”. In fact, the technique used by the government to brainwash Alex is named the “Ludovico Technique”, which is (in Italian), Beethoven’s first name. Also, the music that makes Alex attempt suicide is Beethoven’s ninth symphony, second movement (also known as “suicide scherzo”, which means “suicide joke”

Chapter IV

The Russian imports are not the only aspect of the language used both in the novel and the book. The use of repetitions has to be denoted as well. An example in the book may be “…the clack clack clacky clack clack clackity clackclack of some veck typing away…”5. This repetition has also a homophonic use since it is used to describe the clacking of a typing machine. In the movie, another example that was made by Stanley Kubrick was in a part where Alex and his droogs beat up an old drunk man; here Alex starts by saying “Hey, hey, hey”. It has to be said that this part was invented by the writer of the script who had to put the devices that Burgess uses whenever possible. Also the laconic use of the word “like” that was not common in 1962 may be seen in the novel. This may be seen in the test done by the government to see if the “therapy” brought satisfactory results: “…the other there like rolled or sidled the most lovely young devotchka you could ever hope in all your jeezny…”6. A major example of Burgess’ ability to use English is when Alex talks in good English and also, when there are examples of biblical English such as “…O my father”7.
Burgess also makes Alex different from most teenagers. He gives Alex classical music tastes (Bach, Mozart, and above all, Beethoven) since it would have been strange to create a hero that would like pop and on the other side, he could not have used contemporaneous and famous singers since they would have dated the novel. In fact, in order to make the book always contemporary, Burgess uses every kind of method to avoid a possible dating of the book, even in clothing. The book begins with a weird and “utopian” fashion, a mixture of old clothes (that may resemble partially the Victorian era) with normal ones and ends with “very wide trousers and a very loose black shiny leather like jearkin over an open-necked shirt with a like scarf tucked in”8.
The use of this vast language is being done by the narrator, which is nevertheless Alex himself: the new Alex, the one that is going to be found at the end of the book, the Alex that is growing up. Burgess does this, in order to make us see the story from an external narrator but with an internal point of view; the point of view of the main character. It is a way of making the reader feel what Alex felt in those moments, but it also gives some distance from the character itself, who narrates those moments in a nostalgic way, but who also says that they are not right things to do; all this, with the readers’ achieved by taking them into his confidence with the use of “O my brothers”9 from the beginning of the book up until the very last page.
Burgess himself has the ability to express his opinions in the book by creating a character that holds up his ideals: the ideal that choosing the bad side is better than being forced to choose the good side. The jail priest who is against this technique because it does not leave free will to the patient does all this. Also, Burgess creates a character that represented himself: F. Alexander, a man whose wife gets raped in the beginning of the book. In fact, in 1944, while Burgess was serving in Gibraltar, his first wife was beaten and robbed by a gang of four deserters (represented by Alex and his three droogs). Due to this incident, she suffered a miscarriage and as a result she had poor health and died young.
Burgess ability in writing may be seen in the scheme that he has for the book. He divides the book into three major parts, each divided again into seven chapters. In the beginning of every part there is a question that involves the reader directly: “What’s it going to be then, eh”10. Also, the fact that 21 was considered the age in which children become adults, shows how well and carefully the book is structured.
Chapter V)

These are of various reasons why the movie could have hardly been faithful to the book. First of all, the contents of the book were, even if the book is not so long, various and because of this, the director (Stanley Kubrick) had to cut the book to give more space to the truly important part of the story: the characters. There were also certain limitations with the making of a film, such as the fact that the reader has a personal idea of the setting, and characters. This gets limited in a movie because the spectator does not have the ability to imagine things differently from what they are on the screen. On the other hand, the movie may clarify any doubts that the reader had about the book, even though this is done by the imposition of images and/or sounds. For example, the only classical artist mentioned in the movie is Beethoven and his ninth symphony, while in the book also Mozart and Bach are present. The fifth symphony is also mentioned in the book while on the movie, it was only possible to hear the ninth, second movement.
Obviously, this is also done not to throw the spectator into confusion since it would have to absorb more information in less time. For example, a spectator that would have heard various melodies may get confused to the point in which Alex attempts suicide and generalize his hate for Beethoven’s symphony into the hate for classical music. Also, because of economical and theatrical reasons Kubrick had to cut the foreshadowing part to create a greater sense of curiosity in the spectator that would have appreciated the movie more than if the part of the foreshadowing appeared. Nevertheless, in this particular case, because of the cut of the last chapter in the American version of the novel, Kubrick affirmed that he did not know about the last conclusive chapter and therefore, made an incomplete movie because of this. Even though there are various differences, the movie is shows a good reflection of the book. Another minor fact is the absence of the word Bog (God) in the movie, which could have had several negative repercussions in those times. This may be seen especially in the beginning where the “Korova Milkbar” is described as in the book and Alex’s narration is completely faithful to the book (it is the same).

Chapter VI

It is amazing to see the geniality of a writer through his works, which represent faithfully British ideas in the mid 1900’s. The novel reflects the fears of British people in those times and it almost brings you back in that period. As it may be seen, the movie has several differences from the book but it represents also the fears of Americans. It is hard to believe that a major director of all times did not know about the final chapter of the book. And it is therefore probable that this movie had to be done in the U.S. without the last chapter; probably to avoid justifications for teenager’s vandalism in the U.S. Also, this Russian speaker novelist made a great job in creating a utopian world in the near future that appears so realistic even now, after 40 years. He created a fictitious society that represents partially the society of the l980’s were televisions were becoming normal and people started dressing with “very wide trousers and a very loose black shiny leather like jearkin over an open-necked shirt with a like scarf tucked in”11. Not to Jules Verne’s point, but also Burgess made pretty accurate predictions. Bearing this in mind it is hard to judge the book as it should be judged: as a novel, and not according to the accuracy of its predictions. His criticisms towards society and its value are direct and are supported by facts. In fact, haven’t the world’s greatest dictators of the last century been well educated and appreciators of “high arts”. Does culture really develop or create a person? Haven’t the men who ran concentration camps during WWII play Mozart or Bach? Haven’t they read Shakespeare and Goethe?
1 Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of current English, A S Hornsby, Sixth edition, Oxford university press
2 A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess, Penguin classics, penguin books, page viii
3 A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess, Penguin classics, penguin books, page viii
4 A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess, Penguin classics, penguin books, page 140
5 A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess, Penguin classics, penguin books, page 17
6 A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess, Penguin classics, penguin books, page 95
7 A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess, Penguin classics, penguin books, page 38
8 A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess, Penguin classics, penguin books, page 133
9 A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess, Penguin classics, penguin books, page 3
10 A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess, Penguin classics, penguin books, pages 3, 57 and 97
11 A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess, Penguin classics, penguin books, page 133