Explore the ways in which Adolscene is presented in A Clockwork Orange and The Catcher In the Rye
Both Anthony Burgess ‘ Dystopian novella A Clockwork Orange (1962) and J.D Sallinger ‘s Bildungsroman A Catcher In the Rye (1951) can be seen as coming age tales. However, despite the similar style of naif narration utilized by eachother the protagonists within these texts face very different problems over the course of the narrative as a conclusion to their aims motivations and morality. Furthermore, is society a factor to their behaviour in adolscene?, which links closely with religion, education and patriarchy that is presented throughout.
Firstly, the language in A Clockwork Orange and The Catcher in the Rye represent the youth as diverse, dramatic, unusual with a need to fit in but to also stand out to express individuality more so in A Clockwork Orange with the use of the Nadsat Language that was crafted by Alex and his gang (it is a mixture between Russian, With a use of ‘Gypsy ‘ colloquialisms including Alex ‘s phrase “Oh my brothers” and ‘cutter ‘ for money and English but the English has been changed in ways to sound more childlike “appy polly loggy” – for apolgy. Burgess being the first or one of the first to create a individual language in an attempt to illustrate adolscene) The language creates a sense of danger and isolationn used to patronise and frighten the victims of the ‘Droogs ‘. Aswell as this , the language used depends in both novels on whether the youth has been moulded and shaped which can be argued is an effect of lack of education and setting which connects with A Clockwork Orange or the influence of education and social class in The Catcher In the Rye. This is shown in A Clockwork Orange: “Prodding some of the new ‘vesches ‘ which they used to put into the old ‘moloko ‘ ,so you could ‘peet ‘ it with ‘vellocet ‘ or ‘synthemesc ‘ or ‘drencrom ‘ or one of the other ‘veshches ‘ which would give you a nice quiet ‘horrorshow ‘ fifteen minutes admiring ‘Bog ‘ “. (Part One,Page 3).The continuous motif of the milk is significant as it is usually a drink associated with young babies which I think Burgess is trying to say that the young men are too young to be drinking or taking drugs so they try to bend the rules and drink milk with drugs but they ‘re still ‘babies ‘ drinking milk. The evaluative adjective ‘wonderful ‘ or in NADSAT ‘Horrorshow ‘ is used which could tell the reader it is not completley true this is Alex ‘s disillusioned view whether caused by the drugs or Alex ‘s young naive mind. The disrespectful notion that they can see ‘God ‘ or ‘Bog ‘ when high isn ‘t parable or to refer God as ‘Bog ‘ into their own language is defying religion. So, this demonstrates the youth as unreliable, not fully understanding concepts and rebellious. In the Catcher In the Rye, Holden is of the same age group as Alex but due to his social class he speaks more standard but like Alex he speaks with an arrogant tone and is very expressive through his narrative like Alex showing the youth as very self-centered and selfish. Both use expletives to express emotion and words that don ‘t neccesarily need to be there showing the youth as very dramatic. This is shown when Holden says: “I was the goddamn manager of the fencing team. Very big deal. We ‘d gone in to New York that morning for the fencing team with McBurney School. Only we didn ‘t have the meet. I left all the foils and equipment and stuff on the goddamn subway. It wasn ‘t all my fault”. Page 3. Chapter 1. Holden repeatedly says goddamn for emphasis like Alex they know more emotive words and can change the way in which they express themselves but choose just to use expletives. They both speak with knowingness as if the youth believes they are priority and make themselves leader and if they ‘re plans fail it suddenly isn ‘t they ‘re fault. Holden is rebellious and does what he believes is best like Alex. However, Alex is alot more drastic Holden gets kicked out of school although does see the importance in education this is also shown through his use of language. Alex at the beginning is less moralistic and believes violence is a way of life which may be key that Holden is more educated, He is more “moulded”. “This interesting riddle is still quite a challenge to modern science in the twentieth century”. Page 12.Chapter 2. Although, Holden is making a mockery of his work he is educated and clever, he has potential. The essay in itself proves Holden is making an effort he has a wide range of vocabulary and knows how to use it. By the end of both novels the language in both characters are transformed whether it is because of maturity, due to the expectations of society or because it is forced upon in experimentation to fit in- in Alex ‘s case. The force of the situation is highlighted in the Clockwork Orange in this quote: “You, 6655321 are to be reformed. Tommorow you go to this man Brodsky”. Part 3, Page 70. The Governor uses imperatives to give authoritive commands. This demonstrates how Alex has very little say in the matter, he will change into who society wants him to be. He strips Alex ‘s identity and Alex himself speaks Standard English to him.Speaking NADSAT was once a way that Alex could express indiviuality and be who he classified himself as. Showing that he can transform when it comes to communication when it comes to terms with directed speech. This is showing young individuals as manipulative, respectful to a degree but also clever with limited choices when it comes to the shaping of their characters.
The use of setting is also important as it can be argued that it did shape both the protagonists as they change and mature. This is illustrated in A Clockwork Orange in this quotation: “I could viddy, my glazzies still being clipped open and my nogas and plott fixed to the chair but this set of wires and other vesches no longer coming out of my plott and gulliver. So what could it be but the films I was viddying that were doing this to me?”. Page 89 Chapter 6. This is a quote from when Alex is taking part in an experiment to heal himself and to get out of prison earlier. This experiment forces Alex to change he doesn ‘t change naturally he becomes forced to be repulsed by his ultra-violent ways. Hes forced into “growing up” and seeing the ways of society. Not through a genuine mind but through mere force. Holden goes to New York voluntarily to keep himself away from attitudes he doesn ‘t like but New York is home to a large range of different types of people. Which Holden isn ‘t accustomed to and becomes further isolated. At the Edmont Hotel he is forced to mature to fit in. He dances with girls he finds attractive and drinks alcohol to seem older. He feels he needs to grow up due to being 16 and because of the way society seems. “I started giving the three witches at the next table the eye again. The other two were strictly from hunger. I didn ‘t do it crudely though”. Page 75. Chapter 10. This quote further reinforces Holden ‘s inexperiance with being so young hes confused and doesn ‘t know how to act toward other females. He is simply reliant on hormones . This quote shows Holden as a slight misogynst. Aswell as this, the manner adverb ‘crudely ‘ shows how Holden is attempting to win over the girls in a makeshift fashion based on the fact he is sophomoric.
The themes ever present in A Clockwork Orange and A Catcher In the Rye such as: Victimisation, violence (those two more suited with A Clockwork Orange), isolation and patrichy does show the readers throughout the protagonists with being young are victims of society that do need to be shaped and are isolated until made into becoming “respectable” adults and are going through the journey of finding themselves and through force finding who society wants them to be instead. Showing themselves as patriarchal in the attempt of becoming adults and trying to maintain or to take benefits from relationships with females but with the confusion comes the miscontent. The violence is shown to feel some power in they ‘re powerless position as being young and disrespected Alex tries to grasp and earn respect with his unexperianced mind in particular.
“Does God want goodness or the choice of goodness? Is a man who chooses to be bad perhaps in some way better than a man who has the good imposed upon him?” – Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange
This quote from Anthony Burgess shows his aims to show adolescence and show his belief through A Clockwork Orange that there is lack of choice when going into society we follow rules and we like the sound of choice as people but yet we can ‘t be exactly who want to be when growing up completely.
“Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody ‘s around – nobody big, I mean – except me. And I ‘m standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff”.-J.D Sallinger, A Catcher In the Rye
This is shown in A Catcher In the Rye that shows Sallinger ‘s purpose in writing this novel. That people should be able to be who they are and stay young in spirit. They shouldn ‘t need to fall in society. The Catcher In the Rye title is referenced from the poem Comin ‘ thro ‘ the Rye by Robert Burns (1796) in Holden ‘s misinterpretation of it, it centres around the corruption and loss of childhood.