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John Anthony Burgess Wilson was born on Feb.25,1917 in Manchester, England in a Catholic middle-class family. His father was a pub pianist and a cashier. His mother and his only sister died in the influenza epidemic in 1919. Then he was brought up by a maternal aunt and later by a stepmother. Burgess was educated at Xaverian College and the University at Manchester.
In 1942 he married his first wife Llewela (Lynne) Isherwood Jones. From 1946 to 1950 he taught at Birmingham University and was a teacher at Banbury Grammar School. Then he begun to study music composition. In 1954 he became an education officer in Malaya and Brunei. After collapsing there, during the lesson at the College, he returned to England. Burgess was diagnosed as having a tumor and given 12 months to live. But the doctor´s diagnosis was wrong and he lived longer. From this time Burgess used pseudonyms like Joseph Kell. In 1962 he published the book "A Clockwork Orange" (Film-1970s). In 1968 his wife Lynne died of alcoholic cirrhosis.
Later in 1968 he married Liliana (Liana) Macellari. Together they had a son named Paolo Andrea, later Andrew. The family lived together in various European countries, therefore he could speak a lot of languages, like German, Welsh, Japanese etc. He produced an arifical language called nadsat. In 1970-71 he was a visiting professor at Princeton University, a Distinguished professor at the City College of New York (1972) and a writer-in-residence at the University of New York at Buffalo (1976). Burgess wrote film scripts and several critical studies, he was a specialist in Shakespeare and James Joyce.
He returned to London in the early 1990s, shortly before his death of lung cancer on 22. November,1993. His son Andrew died in London in 2002, while Liana still lived in Monaco.
Works of him:
-Time for Tiger-1956 -A Clockwork Orange-1962 -Cyrano de Bergerac-1971(translation) -The Clockwork Testament-1975 -Carmen-1986(translation)
Characterization of the characters in the book:
The major character is Alex:
-gang leader of Dim, Pete and Georgie
-use nadsat language
-15year old hooligan
-arrogant but loves classical music
-grows up and tires of violence
-new gang: Bully, Rick&Len
-stupidest gang member
-member of the new brutal police force
-beats up Alex
-harmless office worker with a wife
-dissatisfied with Alex dictatorship
-died while Alex is in prison
-a lodger that Alex parents take
-hast taken the role of a son
-rival gang leader
-similar to Alex
-belongs to the police force
-joins Dim on the police force and they become friends
-overseer of Ludovico´s Technique
-perfectly decent and ordinary decent people
For Anthony Burgess the number 21 was a powerful number. It marked the age of maturity when he gets to drink, to vote and other rights of passage one receives at 21. That is why ,,A Clockwork Orange" contains 21 chapters. The book ist divided into 3 parts and each one has 7 chapters.
The main character Alex hangs around with his 3 friends, the “droogs”, Dim, Pete, and Georgie, in a bar called the Korova Milkbar.On the street they come across Billyboy and his 5 friends and a fight breaks out. After the fight is over, they drive to an elderly woman’s house. They pretend to need help. When she opens the door Dim, Georgie and Pete put on masks . They knock down the woman unconscious and continue to rob her. In the process they come across a book named “A Clockwork Orange”. Afterwards the 4 decide to meet again the next day. Alex carries a knife in his pocket on the way home just in case he runs into Billyboy’s gang.
The next day Alex runs into a man he knows named PR Deltoid. Deltoid warns Alex to be on his best behavior because the police know about his robberies and his fight with Billyboy’s gang. Then Alex goes out to meet his friends. Georgie tells him that they are going to rob an old lady’s house who lives with lots of cats. They try pretend to be sick and to need help. But the old lady is not to be fooled easily. So they go into the house through the back. It is dark and Alex can´t see anything. Anyway, he goes through the house. Alex fells down the stairs. He was unconscious. He then hears police sirens. Georgie, Pete and Dim run off. Alex is taken to jail.
Alex is in court. Alex attends Bible studies classes. He enjoyes reading the Bible stories and the priests were quiet pleased. He asks the priest about a technique that he overheard 2 prisoners talking about that allows you to get out of jail quicker. The priest says it is called Ludovico’s Technique. Alex asks to be chosen for this technique. A group of people pick Alex and take him to the governor’s office. Dr. Branom and his assistance tell Alex that he will watch some films in the afternoon. Dr. Brodsky arrives and strapps Alex’s head to the chair. They also strapp his arms down. They then put clips on his eyes to keep them open while the film was going. The first film shows 2 women being raped. Alex likes it. But he feels pains all over and is sick. The second film is about a man beeing beaten. The third film is about an old woman being beaten. The last film is the worst. It was Japanese torture during W.W.II. It shows them pinning people to trees, lighting the tree on fire, and cutting off the soldier’s penis. The next day Alex is shown more war films and feels sick. The film is about the Nazi and has no words. In the background is Beethoven’s Symphony, which Alex likes. Alex cries out to stop it because it is a sin to use Beethoven’s music like that.
After few days Alex is on the stage. A fat man walks over and punchs Alex in the face. The man continues to beat Alex. Alex tries to please the man by offering him things. But the man keeps beating Alex. When Alex can’t take it any more, when he is getting ready to strike the man, he feels sick so he didn’t. That is test number one. In test number 2 a beautiful nude woman walks over to Alex. He wants to have sex with her right there. But he knows if he does so then he will feel the sickness and threw up.
Alex is released and walks back home. He feel very excited. But his parents aren’t happy to see him. They took on a lodger named Joe. Joe won’t give up his room so Alex has no place to stay. He goes to Korova Milkbar there a group of people beat up Alex. Alex don’t fight back because he feels the sickness coming. When they finally stopp beating him, he goes into the street where some people tripp him. Walking throughout the street Alex encounter Billybob and Dim. They are now friends and take turns beating up Alex. He came across a house. Alex remembers the house. It was where he had saw the book "A Clockwork Orange". During the night, Alex can’t sleep so he goes to look for the book "A Clockwork Orange" by F. Alexander. Alex reads the book but can’t understand it. Alex leaves and is once again beaten up in the street. His parents see what happens and ask him to come back home.
Alex make three new friends named Len, Rick, and Bully. They look up to Alex as their leader. In the Korvona Milkbar Alex runs into Pete. Pete introduces Alex to his wife named Georgina. Alex gets a job and is welcome at his home. The evil seems to have been taken out of Alex and thus the book ends.