A Clockwork Orange revisited

Sometimes it is difficult to resume writing after such a pause. The first think one wants to talk about is the cause of a writers block, if there is one. Well, there is a cause as far as I can understand it. I made a long journey and during this journey I was listening to an audiobook. It was the  Clockwork Orange that I found worth going deep with after this little passage on a web page on English Grammar. No, it was not disappointing. The book is well written as the comment made me guess. Yes, it was annoying. Probably I’m one of very few people on this planet who instantly understood all words in this audiobook, as in fact all the words that may sound so strange to native English speakers are in fact Russian words, easily comprehensible to someone who speaks both languages. But this was the annoying point. Why did he use Russian words? Easy enough, it is clear to everybody that the writer invented this alien jargon to characterize a group of youngsters as detached from normal social behavior. The unfamiliar language creates a distinct reality in which the degree of brutality exposed by this group of criminals becomes out-of-this-world and hence tolerable, though not acceptable.

But, why Russian? I guess the answer to this question is that this book was written by Anthony Burgess in 1962. It was the period of cold war, and Russia was the enemy. An here it occurs to me that it was an intended effect a means to subconsciously infuse hatred against Russian people who speak the same tongue. In fauceir terms it is the imprecision ingrained in every information process here employed intentionally in terms of propaganda to manipulate people. Nowadays an author would probably rather use Arabian.

All this was clear to me right from the beginning. There was something else that made me nervous that subconsciously infused something in my mind that made me depressed and silent. Now I know what it was. By contrast to native English speakers these words were not alien to me. They have a meaning that aroused feelings and these feelings were in stark contrast with what happened in the plot.

To give an example that can be apprehended by English speakers, imagine members of a gang addressing each other by words like ‘my friend’ or ‘my dear one’. Sounds strange doesn’t it. An English speaking gang would use words like pal, crony, buddy, and so on,  and in Russian, of course, such words exist, too. Droog, however, the word frequently used by gang members in that Burgess’ book,  when used among criminals has a rare sarcastic taste.

An other example, devotchka in Russian is an innocent girl and the word is synonymous with virgin. Russian criminals wouldn’t use that word to address a normal female person, if they were not sex criminals. Even among ordinary criminals this word is reserved for someone they harbor sincere feelings for. An ordinary woman is called by Russian criminals whore or bitch like supposingly everywhere in the world.

Having said that, I hope everyone can understand how I took in this book. It was detestable. It was as if these criminals not only showed an extraordinary degree of brutality, but also trampled the least bit of their own feelings, as if they were not humans at all but robots programmed only to destroy.  It was unbearable. But it was unreal, too,  as every robot has its programmer. Robots don’t brutally destroy everything on their own account. They must have a programmer.

Finally, I got over it because I understood that everything was my mere misconception, imprecision in fauceir terms so to speak.


Creative Commons License

This work by Paul Netman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Fauceir theory is developed and © by Mato Nagel and available at www.fauceir.org.

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