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Thread: 'A Clockwork Orange' Comparative Essay

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    Wilma
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    'A Clockwork Orange' Comparative Essay

    My English Literature coursework this year requires me to write a comparative essay for two novels of my choice. I have selected 'A Clockwork Orange' to be one, but the other novel MUST be pre-1900s.

    There must be some correspondence between the novels, be it within language (e.g. unique languages like Nadsat), setting (dystopian) or themes (crime & punishment), so I can compare and contrast them.

    I'm hoping to find novels that are somewhat short, so I can read them quickly and easily find sections/quotes I may need.

    Any and all suggestions are welcome

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    University student EvoWarrior5's Avatar
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    Do epics count? I must admit that I have not read Clockwork Orange myself, although I have a fairly good image of its main themes. As I recall, free will was a paramount theme. So I was thinking, maybe compare it to one or two of the books from Milton's Paradise Lost.

    You might feel weirded out by that suggestion, but I think it could work out really well. You could compare the representation of free will in the two, showing Milton's religious interpretation of the concept and comparing and contrasting it with the secularised narrative of Clockwork Orange. The latter can be put in a context of 20th century concerns, like totalitarianism. I think both works show neither an overdeterministic interpretation of government control, nor do they provide easy ways to escape from "higher control" (i.e. God or the Government, depending on the work). Thus, I feel like a comparison between these two could lead to an interesting essay about the interplay between individual subjectivity and higher powers who may attempt to interfere with this free will and impose control over their subjects.

    I repeat, I have not read Clockwork Orange myself, and I have only read two or three of Milton's books a while back. Therefore, my statements may not be entirely correct. If anyone else has input on this suggestion, then by all means!
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    The Gnu Normal Pompey Bum's Avatar
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    The pre-1900s requirement is unfortunate. What you want is Graham Greene's 1938 Brighton Rock, which is also about a hyper-violent juvenile offender who uses a lot of slang (though not nearly as much Alex and the droogie-woogs do). Maybe you could talk your prof into making an exception. But if you do, don't expect me to write the essay for you. I haven't read A Clockwork Orange since the 80s and I haven't had such bolshy yarbles in me Gulliver since then.
    Last edited by Pompey Bum; 06-16-2016 at 03:20 PM.
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    rat in a strange garret Whifflingpin's Avatar
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    Arthur Morrison "A child of the Jago"
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    Wilma
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    I hadn't even considered comparing governmental control in 'A Clockwork Orange' with higher powers in other novels, that's certainly something to consider!

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    Wilma
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    Yeah, the restriction is certainly annoying, and unfortunately my essay will not be accepted if I don't stick to it but the book sounds fascinating regardless, maybe I'll read it over the summer!

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    Wilma
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    This seems to tick all the boxes, I'll definitely have a look! Comparing the violence of the two characters' lives would be very interesting

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    How about Oliver Twist? Both books feature a young character involved in crime and offer some suggestion into the why's and wherefore's. Alternatively Fielding's Tom Jones might also be another one - a strapping youth who is lead astray and thumbs his nose at authority.

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    The Gnu Normal Pompey Bum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandy14 View Post
    How about Oliver Twist? Both books feature a young character involved in crime and offer some suggestion into the why's and wherefore's. Alternatively Fielding's Tom Jones might also be another one - a strapping youth who is lead astray and thumbs his nose at authority.

    I was just thinking the same thing--not so much for Oliver's character as the Artful Dodger, who embraces what he's doing and remains defiant to the end. You could also compare the tenuous ties of the respective gang members. They act like friends or even family members but they cut out on each other (or worse) if there's trouble.

    I don't see a comparison with Tom Jones so much. Tom is too inherently virtuous. It seems like it's more Fielding who is thumbing his nose at moral convention by saying, look, this is the way young men are, even the virtuous ones. But there's something much worse going on with Alex.
    Last edited by Pompey Bum; 06-21-2016 at 02:17 PM.
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    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    Apart from Oliver Twist, the only book I can think of is The Netherworld by George Gissing, but it is not a brilliant match tbh.
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    Two that spring to mind are Moore's Utopia and Swift's Gulliver's Travels. All three books comment on their own society by depicting aternatives.
    ay up

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    Does it have to be a novel? You could use the first four cantos of Byron's Don Juan. Another book might be Moll Flanders and then you could get some gender comparisons too.

    With Moll Flanders you get a comparison of crime and punishment, gender and moral attutides in fiction.
    Last edited by sandy14; 06-22-2016 at 07:23 PM.

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    The Gnu Normal Pompey Bum's Avatar
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    Moll Flanders is an inspired idea. And read Don Juan, too. Just for the glory of it.
    And this from a man in a bunny suit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pompey Bum View Post
    Moll Flanders is an inspired idea. And read Don Juan, too. Just for the glory of it.
    Thank you for the compliment.

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    Registered User Red Terror's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soyblush View Post
    My English Literature coursework this year requires me to write a comparative essay for two novels of my choice. I have selected 'A Clockwork Orange' to be one, but the other novel MUST be pre-1900s.

    There must be some correspondence between the novels, be it within language (e.g. unique languages like Nadsat), setting (dystopian) or themes (crime & punishment), so I can compare and contrast them.

    I'm hoping to find novels that are somewhat short, so I can read them quickly and easily find sections/quotes I may need.

    Any and all suggestions are welcome
    There has never been a single, great revolution in history without civil war. --- Vladimir Lenin

    There are decades when nothing happens and then there are weeks when decades happen. --- Vladimir Lenin

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