A Clockwork Orange is a Parody of Dystopias

A dystopia is commonly an unpleasant or bad place commonly due to totalitarian governments. In the Anthony Burgess novel (or the Stanley Kubrick film), the protagonist and his friends terrorize innocent people, but this doesn’t appear to support an actual dystopia. There is a government who isn’t overbearing, there are prison systems, and it is stated that there is a sufficient educational system. It seems like an average future – portrayed through an unreliable narrator, the criminal Alex. The story gives the interpretation that criminals are too prevalent in the society but there are only two gangs and most other characters are living their lives. Compared to most dystopian literature, the concept is inverted along with the protagonist who is normally an underdog rebelling against their government. Alex doesn’t mold a bildungsroman or feel like an underdog rebelling against the unruly. Analyze and interpret the dystopian elements and the contradictions within the book/movie and define if this can really be called dystopian or if it is actually a parody or something else entirely. Would this be a satire or parody? This is considered a black comedy so there is still humorous aspects to consider.

  • I like the idea. I'm not sure parody is quite the correct word--maybe satire or something similar--but the idea behind it is very interesting. – nsnow 9 years ago
  • It's interesting that you say that, I originally brought this topic up to one of my professors as a satire and they said that it would be less of a satire and more of a parody. I agree with you, and would love to hear more opinions in regards to which would be a better term for A Clockwork Orange. – Connor 9 years ago
  • Just looking at the definitions, parody's goal is comedy and humor through imitation and exaggeration. I wouldn't call Clockwork Orange a comedy or humorous book/movie. Satire uses humor and/or exaggeration to criticize a concept, which I think is closer to what you are getting at. Both words are closely related and I could see an argument for either one. – nsnow 9 years ago
  • Agreed, although A Clockwork Orange is classified as a black comedy which I know isn't as common in American works but has been popular among Kubrick's other works (ex. Dr Strangelove). I look at it as more of an inverted version of dystopia showing that the common dystopian story can be flipped and more horrific (sounds more satirical to me in that sense), but I can see both sides. – Connor 9 years ago

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