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Book Vs Film: The Clockwork Orange

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1719 words Published: 14th Apr 2017

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Glenn DW will tell us something about the book then we will give you a short summary of the book, then I will give you some information about the author. After that glenn VH show us some differences between the book and the movie. And for ending we will show you a fragment.

We are going to discuss the book and the movie “A Clockwork Orange”.

The first thing we want to say, is that the book is very hard to read. There are a lot of hard words in it and Alex and his three friends speak a dialect, called “nadsat”. It’s the teenage vocabulary of the future. Glenn Vanhaeren also read the book in Dutch and it was also very difficult to read according to him, even in Dutch. because they use a lot of words that nobody understands. In the Dutch version of the book is a list with all the explanations of these words, in the English version there isn’t. A few examples:

  1. To viddy is to see
  2. A droog is a friend

Short summary

A clockwork orange is a story about a young teenager named Alex living in near-future England. Alex leads a small gang of teenage criminals, Dim, Pete, and Georgie are the other members. They do things like robbing and beating men and raping women. Alex and his friends spend a lot of their time at the Korova Milkbar, that’s an establishment that serves milk laced with drugs, such milk is called Milk-plus. Alex begins his narrative from the Milk bar, where the boys sit around drinking. When Alex and his gang leave the bar, they go on a crime. Their last crime was when they broke into an old woman’s house. She calls the police, and before Alex can get away, Dim hits him in the eye with a chain and runs away with the others. The police found Alex on the ground and take him to their office, where he later heard that the woman he beat and raped during the earlier robbery has died. Now he’s become a murderer.

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Alex is sentenced to fourteen years in prison. He befriends the prison chaplain, who notices Alex’s interest in the Bible. The chaplain lets Alex read in the chapel while listening to classical music, because Alex likes classical music. On one day Alex is selected as the first candidate for an experimental treatment called Ludovico’s Technique, a form of brainwashing that incorporates associative learning. After being injected with a substance that makes him dreadfully sick, the doctors force Alex to watch exceedingly violent movies. In this way, Alex comes to associate violence with the nausea and headaches he experiences from the shot. The process takes two weeks to complete. After this process Alex can no longer enjoy classical music, which he has always associated with violence.

After two years in prison, Alex is released, a harmless human being incapable of vicious acts. Soon, however, Alex finds he’s not only harmless but also defenceless, as his earlier victims begin to take revenge on him. His old friend Dim and an old enemy named Billyboy are both police officers now, and they take the opportunity to settle old scores. They drive him to a field in the country, beat him, and leave him in the rain. When they leave him Alex goes to a nearby cottage and knocks on the door, begging for help. The man living there lets him in and gives him food and a room for the night. Alex recognizes him from two years ago as the man whose wife he raped, but the man does not recognize Alex. This man, F. Alexander, is a political dissident. When he hears Alex’s story, he thinks he can use Alex to incite public outrage against the State. He and three of his colleagues develop a plan for Alex to make several public appearances. When they are speaking to each other He berates the men in nadsat, which arouses the suspicion of F. Alexander, who still remembers the strange language spoken by the teenagers who raped his wife. Based on F. Alexander’s suspicion, the men change their plans. They lock Alex in an apartment and blast classical music through the wall, hoping to drive Alex to suicide so they can blame the government. Alex does, in fact, hurl himself out of an attic window, but the fall doesn’t kill him. While he lies in the hospital, unconscious, a political struggle ensues, but the current administration survives. State doctors undo Ludovico’s Technique and restore Alex’s old vicious self in exchange for Alex’s endorsement.

The author


Anthony Burgess was an English author; he was borne in Manchester in 1917 and died in London in 1993. His sister Muriel died in 1918 Four days later his mother Elizabeth died at the age of 30 on November 1918, Burgess was one year old. After the death of his mother, Burgess was raised by his aunt, because his dad was unable to raise him.

You could say that Burgess hasn’t had a normal youth. Burgess did military service during WW II. He left the army in 1946, and became teacher.

In 1954, Burgess joined the British Colonial Service as a teacher. But most of his time, he wrote and worked at his novels.

At his death he was a multi-millionaire, leaving a Europe-wide property portfolio of houses and apartments.


His real name is John Burgess Wilson, but he published under the pen name Anthony Burgess. In total, Burgess wrote more than ten novels. He wasn’t only a novel writer, he also wrote screenplays (eg. The Spy Who Loved Me, a James Bond movie). Except from being active in the world of literacy, Burgess was also musician and composed regularly. Several of his pieces were broadcast during his lifetime on BBC Radio. He wrote The Clockwork orange in 1962. This is Burgess most famous novel. The film version of A Clockwork orange was released in 1971.

2) The novel

Main Theme

Burgess believed that “the freedom to choose is the big human attribute,” This belief provides the central argument of A Clockwork Orange, where Alex must follow the Ludovico treatment. When the State removes Alex’s power to choose his own moral course of action, Alex becomes nothing more than a thing.

The chaplain, the novel’s clearest advocate for Christian morals, addresses the dangers of Alex’s “Reclamation Treatment” when he tells Alex that “goodness is something chosen.


The main character of The Clockwork Orange is Alex. He is the anti-hero of the novel. Alex likes to name himself “Alexander the Large”; this was later the basis for Alex’s claimed surname De Large in the 1971 film. Alex is the leader of a gang, the tree other member of his gang are George, Pete and Dim.

The rival of Alex (and his gang) is Billyboy. Billyboy also haves a gang, these two gangs often fight with each other.

Dr. Brodsky is a doctor who is the founder of the Ludovico technique. There is also another doctor, Dr. Branom. This is Brodsky’s colleague and co-founder of the Ludovico technique. He appears friendly towards Alex at first, before forcing him into the theatre to be psychologically tortured.

Another important character in the novel is the prison chaplain. This is the only character who is truly concerned about Alex’s welfare

There are many other, rather small characters. E.g. The people who are terrorized by Alex and his gang.

3) Book vs Film



There are plenty differences between the book and the film. One of the big differences is the age of the characters. In the book the characters are younger as the characters in the film. I will give you two specific examples of these differences.

– The girl that is about to be raped by Billy Boy’s gang is ten years old in the book while looking at the film it is a young woman which is about to be raped by Billy Boy’s.

– After meeting two ten-year-old girls named Marty and Sonietta in a record shop, Alex takes home these girls and rapes them. This happens in the Book but in the film, the girls are about 14 years old.

Although these differences don’t change the story or the meaning of the story, they do change the way you look at the story. If you would see a ten-year-old girl which is being raped by a 15 year old young man, who looks like a man of at least 18 years old in my opinion, it is not realistic enough. Unlike a film, a book it is not being visualised for you and so you don’t see it. Then it’s shocking to read that this girl is so young.

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The ending of the story is also different between the book and the film because the last chapter, which is chapter 21, of the book was not filmed. In this chapter, Alex meets Pete. That was the third member of the original gang. Alex realises that he wishes to do the same, but his violence was an unavoidable product of his youth. The film is ending with a scene where you see a naked girl that is being raped and Alex saying “I was cured, all right”.

Overall there are some differences but they have almost no influence on the story. Most of the differences are just some small details. The differences in age are only improving the story and the differences in the music can’t even have any influence because you can’t hear music when you are reading a book. Although both endings are different the almost say the same and that is that Alex wants to change but because of his violent childhood he will never be completely cured.

Crucial Scene

The scene takes place just before Alex is released. The Ludovico threatment has ended and it has worked. In a short presentation the doctors want to show what they archieved.

(show part of movie from minute 81 -> 86)

(read book pg. 93 – 95; all of us)


The book is hard to read, as mentioned before. The movie of the book is excellent, each chapter in the book is a scene in the movie. Although, there is a lot of explicit content in the movie, the story is good and there is a message in it.

Thank you for your attention


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