A Clockwork Orange A Clockwork Orange discussion


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final chapter- better or not?

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Kirby the first two times I read this, it was the american version that omitted the final chapter. not too long ago, I found a copy that included it...it completely changed the story, but I can't decide if I like it better or not...anyone else have thoughts?


Kimberly Hicks Ok, Kirby my question to you would be, is the book cover I'm seeing on Goodreads, is that the version with the final ending? I only ask, because I need my memory refreshed. I read this so long ago, but loved the book, and I think I remember how the ending goes, but perhaps you can enlighten me and tell me the ending, so I may compare if I agree with your views or not? Or perhaps add my two cents to what I felt about the book. This book was strange and awesome. Much better than the movie!


Erik Batson @ Kimberly that version does have the extra chapter.
I felt that the extra chapter gave Alex a humanity that was not so apparent otherwise. It put things into perspective and gave you finality. I agree 100%, the book > movie. Kubrick is my favorite director, but nothing beats the written word.


Devon  Start The book and movie are both great but the intent of the author was to take the character out of his teens and show him the adult world.. as kubrik and the american version of the book(which kubrik based his movie on) is really just about a really rotten terrible person who pretty much gets away with it and learns that he can. in the end his bad behavior is rewarded by a great and easy job and no general change in his outlook... (in the movie it is shown by him dreaming again of murdering and raping in what appears to be a celebration of his violent self) with out that last chapter there is no real growth, alex is as he was at the start of the book, everything he underwent had no real bearing on his personality(the quality of his life.. maybe)


Easwar Chandran Maybe Kubrick thought the last chapter was a bit too optimistic with a change of heart for Alex. But Alex himself says this cycle of violence would go on and on for the teens..

can we mitigate the risks of youth violence (maybe part of the human evolution) without intruding free-will.. this is for the society to answer..

In my opinion, the final chapter is far more bleak and realistic than Kubrick thought.


Devon  Start kubrick chose the american version of the book because it was the one american audiences would know.. and not for artistic reasons..
in books like this its about the PERSONAL journey not the societies journey, so teens being angsty and violent forever doenst really matter to alexs journey(if that makes sense)


Dominick I spent long time trying to get a copy with the original final chapter, and when I finally did, I was profoundly disappointed. To me, the idea of Alex simply outgrowing his behaviour rang hollow. It seemed like a copout. Sociopathy or psychopathy don't just go away when you get older, and the suggestion that everything that went before amounted to not much more than a "phase" struck me as wish fulfillment.

This surprised me enormously, as I would say that usually I trust the artist, but in this case, I think Kubrick's take was actually truer to the nature of Alex's character overall, even though Burgess actually created him.


Derek Hansen Certainly sociopathy etc doesn't just "go away" with age, BUT... it seemed that there were loads of teenagers doing the things Alex and his gang were doing. These things were, in the future of the book, "standard teenage rebellion stuff", like smoking and driving like an idiot is to us.
So the question is whether Alex actually WAS a sociopath, or whether he was a perfectly normal teenager for that time period? Maybe SOCIETY was crazy.
Yes I know that's pretty much the accepted reading of the book, but whatever, I still love Burgess.


Dominick lol! Well, I think it's fair enough to say that the society both Burgess and Kubrick depict was crazy; it's clearly a dystopian world in which, the novel suggests, the endemic violence reflects the socail reality. However, I don't think its futurity really features into it much. After all, Burgess was exorcising some personal experiences in the book--his own wife was assaulted and robbed and subsequently miscarried, events which in part inspired the book, and juvenile delinquency was the subject of . . . well, "hysteria" does not seem too strong a word in the 1950s--so the sort of violence the book deals with directly reflects the reality (as popularly understood, anyway) of teenage behaviour at the time, albeit exaggerated for literary and satirical purposes.


Derek Hansen I think it helps the theme of "psychology etc. can't fundamentally change a person, but they can change themselves", too. Without the last chapter, only the first part of that sentence is really explored. I always found it amusing that this was Burgess' least favorite book, too.


Dominick It's the only one of his I've read, which would no doubt depress him. . . .


Stars.from.here Dominick wrote: "It's the only one of his I've read, which would no doubt depress him. . . ."

I don't think you're missing out on very much. I was set on reading more of his books after I read 'A Clockwork Orange', and I ended up reading the first book in the Enderby series. It might have been a poor choice, but I haven't read anything else by Burgess since.


Valerie It does change the story, but for the better. It's a reflection on society.


Sparrowlicious Since I never owned a version without the last chapter I can't really tell if the 'feeling' of the book is any different. If you've seen the movie you will probably know how it left you: with the thought of how evil just triumphs again and again.
The final chapter in the book however shows how Alex tires of his 'evil' doings.

Plus: I think it's weird if someone calls it the "british final chapter". It was the original final chapter all along. That it wasn't included in the first american versions is the publisher's fault in my opinion. I wouldn't even know that it wasn't included if it wasn't written in a small note in the edition I own (Penguin books? I can't say right now since I'm not at home to look it up.)


Charlotte Acrobat I love the last chapter. Too bad Kubrick omitted it.


message 16: by E.M. (last edited May 15, 2012 06:47PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

E.M. Shelton The term A Clockwork Orange was never explained in the movie and has much to do with the plot and the last chapter of the book. Alex functioned as a clockwork, a product of both the expectations of his peers and the corruption of society. He was also an orange, young and ripe and easily impressionable.
I think the point of the novel was lost when the final chapter was omitted. Alex was reacting to society as a youth - a clockwork orange. When they sought to modify his behavior and make him what the corrupt leaders felt he should be they took away the freewill a youth possesses to form their own conclusions on morality and the world around them. The Ludovico technique failed to impress morality upon Alex. Instead it forced him to act in a specific manner through fear and pain. In the final chapter we see Alex, without the influence of government-imposed standards, grow into adulthood and embrace his own set of morals. He sees that the peers he once sought to impress have settled down. In the end it's his freewill that determines his views of right and wrong.

Anyway, that's what I got from the final chapter. I think the book was much better for it, since without it there's no real lesson to learn or point to make. It becomes, as Kubrick designed it, a shocking portrayal of wanton violence. (Don't get me wrong, loved the movie. I just think he should've left the chapter in)


Daisy Leather FAR FAR BETTER. The last chapter of the novel was the whole entire morale and story and POINT of the novel as a whole. The story highlighted the indoctrination of society upon this one guy, Alex, and how in the end he became a part of the CLOCKWORK of the society. Before, he led his own life - sure, he was a twisted human being, but that doesn't give the government the grounds for changing his whole character and making him sick seeing the terrors of the world. It didn't make him any a better person than he was. Sure, he's a very warped protagonist but at least he is himself. The whole point of the story is, once the government has dealt with him in their own way, he goes out to the world as a product of their dystopian nature. Modifying his behaviour and forcing him to be something he's not is a symbol for the corruption and free will being stripped away from them. It sees him crushed, unable to be himself. Whilst we may not like Alex as a character in the slightest, we are allowed to feel some kind of sympathy for his situation - they don't give him morales, they just strip away everything that was Alex and force him to be something he's not, and by reforming and becoming that something in the final chapter, the whole purpose of the book is realised. I don't really understand the justification in America for loosing the last chapter, and I don't understand that in the film either. And the people who said that 'the book works better without the final chapter' - well, no, not really. The final chapter IS the book. It properly reflects on the dystopian immorale society, and we just didn't get that with the loss of the final chapter.


message 18: by Ira (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ira Therebel It is much better with the final chapter. Not using it ruins the story imo. Now Alex isn't forced to be good, he also doesn't choose to be bad, now he chooses to be good himself. Taking away this chapter just give us 2 options that both seem to be bad (the question is only which one is worse), him going for the good because of his own free will shows a possibility of an actually good outcome and creates a feeling of hope.


message 19: by Sam (new)

Sam Better in the sense that it's the Anthony Burgesses' book and if that's how he intended the book to be then that's the way it should be. However, I feel this makes the story into a moral that is hidden behind nadsat. Whereas, without the other chapter it's satirical and a commentary on society.

I'm torn on whether or not it is better with it or without.


message 20: by Pete (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pete Goch For me the final chapter is both unrealistic and completely undermines the force of the book.

One the one hand we have Alex painted, as far as I can tell, as a complete sociopath - rape and violence are just amusements for him and human empathy seems completely alien to him. Sociopaths don't just "get better". It's not just a phase that one grows out of. Sociopaths are sociopaths for life.

On the other the main theme of the book is how choice and free will are what make us human and that they're valuable in their own right. So valuable, in fact, that it seems wrong to deprive even the worst of us the ability to make free choices. In other words there's a cost associated with valuing choice and free will so highly - that we have to allow that some will choose to do horrible things. By having Alex suddenly just "snap out of it" at the end it tends to say that the cost isn't real: all we need to do is be patient and wait and all the little sociopaths will sort themselves out.

A bit ridiculous if you ask me.


Chris Craddock I have never heard of the last chapter and when I finished reading it, I saw that it didn't have the final chapter on the version I had. I am interested in reading it, but I think that the book and film are pretty good without it. The author feels like he shouldn't have let himself be talked out of including it, but not sure if I agree.


message 22: by Rosamond (last edited Dec 24, 2012 09:21PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rosamond It isn't realistic for a psychotic freak to just grow out of it like a phase; Alex's change symbolizes a possible answer to Burgess' problem. It isn't morally permissible to force someone to be good- but they can change on their own. Which is clearly still a problem, but he's kind of right.
You could say he was "cured" naturally. It adds a touch of irony because Alex struggles through the book to return to his ultra violent lifestyle to find it boring in the end, and it persists the more clockish characteristics in a sense that little Alex is part of the past. It's time for the mature Alexander to emerge.


message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

I have the edition with the extra chapter. Kubrick's film omits this, and I always thought Kubrick took that out himself (until I read your comment). I prefer how the film ends rather than the extra chapter. However, I need to read it again! :)


Cantstop37gmail.com Yes, Alex is definitely a psychopath. There's no denying that fact, that he literally enjoys hurting others, and remarked that he would normally have liked the films he was forced to watch without the injection. But in the last chapter, he doesn't decide that what he was doing is necessarily WRONG, he just is too old for it. He requests that his droogs continue hurting others and breaking the law, it is merely that he doesn't get the same pleasure out of it. The point is, Burgess's motive was not to just make a book known for having the bad guy win, it was to suggest that although what Alex did was horrible, he is still a human being and thus change is inevitable.


Damon Wakes I really can't stand that last chapter. Having Alex simply grow out of his violent ways doesn't sit well with the rest of the book. It's unsatisfying in the same way as that sappy ending to Blade Runner: "Oh, look! The problem resolved itself..."


Philip Lee Regardless of whether the American version is better or worse than the British - it was Burgess' intent to finish the book with Alex looking back on things. There is no extra chapter, tagged on at the end for UK readers. It's the other way about. He went along with his US editor on cutting the final chapter for purely commercial reasons, and was prepared for both versions to go on sale more or less simultaneously. Later on, in characteristic spite, he whined about the cut.

He did the same with Kubrick. Visiting the movie set, he complained that the stylisation of the violence was wrong. He wanted it more realistic. But he didn't insist on changes or do anything, except stir up controversy. In the end, Kubrick pulled them movie from UK cinemas because even before its launch it was already encouraging copy-cat violence from teenagers. Kubrick was prepared to take that financial hit. Burgess always went with the money!

On a more general, note. Except in the case of a thriller or whodunnit, where the last few pages are crucial to the reader's enjoyment, the final chapter or so of a novel needn't be what makes or breaks it as a whole. I don't think, for example, that Pip's final reconciliation with Estella (in Great Expectations) is much more than symbolic. It could be attributed to Victorian sentimentality, or Dickens having one eye on the book sales that would follow serialisation. The effect of the ending on the overall achievement of the novel, however, is marginal.


Jordon I definitely prefer the inclusion of the last chapter. Without it, the story ends with Alex being the same old societal terror he was at the beginning, and through all of his suffering he's learned absolutely nothing. This portrayal I find to be somewhat two-dimensional: Alex enjoys violence, and that is the main part of his character. There is no change, no growth.

The final chapter, as has been mentioned, adds a third option to chosen evil and forced good: chosen good. As Alex matures, he doesn't find the old ultra-violence satisfying anymore; this is not due to some drastic change in his morality or character, mind you, he simply doesn't enjoy it anymore. His violent nighttime escapades were the fun of his youth, and now that he's grown up, he has other activities to focus on. This is his growth. He starts off as a free-willed degenerate, like a sour, unripe orange. Then the Ludovico doctors turn him into an entity without choice, the orange made of clockwork. His final cure turns him back into that same unripe orange, because between prison and the treatment, he hasn't had the ability to grow as we see his old droogs do (Dim and Billyboy joining the workforce, Pete settling down into domesticity). What we see in the final chapter is Alex's ripening, the promise of an orange that is healthy and sweet.

I also think that Burgess wanted to confine the violence to adolescence; the unsavoury character is not naturally ingrained in these characters as people, but is grown into and out of as an unsavoury facet of society. To quote the book:
"My son, my son. When I had my son I would explain all that to him when he was starry enough to like understand. But then I knew he would not understand or would not want to understand at all and would do all the veshches I had done, yes perhaps even killing some poor starry forella surrounded with mewing kots and koshkas, and I would not be able to really stop him. And nor would he be able to stop his own son, brothers. And so it would itty on to like the end of the world, round and round and round, like some bolshy gigantic like chelloveck, like old Bog Himself (by courtesy of Korova Milkbar) turning and turning and turning a vonny grahzny orange in his gigantic rookers."
Burgess, through Alex, is telling us that violence is an unavoidable curse of youth. As much as we try, we will not be able to convince young people that doing good is a worthwhile pastime. But conversely, they will (probably) come to that realisation in their own time, as Alex did. There are, of course, exceptions (I doubt that Dim and Billyboy will ever stop being violent), but there is also the hope that resides in the characters of Pete and Alex, both of whom are only shown to have matured in the essential final chapter.

(Also, according to the introduction of my Penguin copy, Kubrick may not have even been aware of the final chapter when he started the film? Just a thought.)

Oh, yikes, that's turned into a bit of an essay...


Philip Cartwright Is the final chapter a "happy ending" or not? On the surface it is: Alex turns his back on his violent ways and prepares to face the adult world. But actually there's something quite disturbing about this development: it suggests that Alex is not some psychotic freak that needs to be locked up. Instead, he is US - or, at least, a slightly exaggerated version of us.

And this observation plays directly into Burgess's treatment of free will in the novel. Our lives are passionate and this carries with it the possibility of violence - especially in our teenage years, which are an incredibly violent period in our lives (we tend to forget this as we get older, but my own teenage past included stealing, fighting, drug taking and all sorts of illegal activity). If you try to wipe out the violence you also wipe out the passion, and this includes our artistic and moral sensibilities.

This was an aspect of the book that Kubrick never really got to grips with. His film links violence to sex in a rather lazy way. Burgess, on the other hand, links violence to art and morality. And that's a MUCH more radical and disturbing idea.


Philip Lee Philip wrote:

"This was an aspect of the book that Kubrick never really got to grips with. His film links violence to sex in a rather lazy way. Burgess, on the other hand, links violence to art and morality. And that's a MUCH more radical and disturbing idea."

If you have time, I would love to hear you expand on the "radical and disturbing" link between art and violence. Was Alex drawing from Beethoven what Hitler was drawing from Wagner?


Philip Cartwright Philip wrote: "Philip wrote:

"This was an aspect of the book that Kubrick never really got to grips with. His film links violence to sex in a rather lazy way. Burgess, on the other hand, links violence to art an..."


Possibly, yes. Art can incite as well as sooth and moral convictions can result in violence as well as tolerance. As I said, they're connected to our emotions and being able to act on our emotional responses is a large part of human freedom (although so is being able to control our impulses - Alex's problem is that, like many young people, he's not good at doing this and that's why he realises at the end of the book that he's not been truly free).

I think the key part of the book in this respect is the one where he breaks into the old lady's house and ends up beating her to death with a bust of Beethoven. As symbolism goes, it could hardly be more clunkingly blatant - and it's significant that in the film the woman is (a) much younger and (b) killed with a huge ceramic phallus. That tells you all you need to know about Kubrick's take on the story.


Philip Lee Wow, I forgot the bust of Beethoven! What a creepy image. Thanks for that.

I said on an earlier thread, when the film came out, we couldn't go and see it because Kubrick pulled it. We could only buy the soundtrack and imagine what the film was like from the music, press reports and from a friend who saw it in Paris.

In that era, the first wave of the skinhead craze had morphed into smoothie suede-head types. But one evening around then, riding on the top deck of a 19 bus in Lime Street, I saw a gang wearing white boiler suits, bovver boots, bowler hats and carrying rolled-up umbrellas. They were crossing in front of St George's Hall and looked just psychotic. Kubrick was right to pull the film, which (in the context of the day) was a travesty and a pretty dangerous one at that.


Summer Leppanen I read the book for the first time with the final chapter, but also with the introduction by Burgess about how it had been pulled and all that. I don't think the last chapter makes sense, though. AS much as I understand the sentiment behind it, that people can change and become better people, I felt like the way it was done didn't make sense. On the other hand, Burgess wrote it as he did for a reason. It just seems very odd to me. I guess I just disagree straight-up with the author about human nature. I don’t think that a person who is so violent by nature, a person who finds such deep rooted pleasure from causing pain would settle down and become a good person by choice for no solid reason at all. Alex settles down because he is becoming an adult. Something shifts in his mind at a certain age, and he becomes bored and tired of violence. He decides that what he really wants is to settle down and start a family. This seems counterintuitive to Alex’s nature. Earlier in the book he wants to return to violence more than anything. He cannot deviate from it. This is not to say that change is not possible on it’s own. Certainly one does not need to be forced into goodness the way Alex was. However, I feel like it must be more subtle and more prompted. Nothing changes in Alex’s life to prompt this sudden change of nature. It seems to come out of nowhere. The only reason given is that he has gotten old enough to be bored of and above his “youthfulness.” I don’t think this would happen, especially at the age of 18. 18 is still young, so it seems odd that it would be seen as an age which is too old to continue being youthful. This novel was published in 1962, and is a science fiction novel. It is clearly shown through this AND in the novel itself that 18 is not a young age. It is a very peculiar, and perhaps even somewhat old-fashioned (in that you have to settle down and start a family to be of any worth, and this should be done at a young age--18 hardly young anymore) way of looking at the world.

I dunno. I do, to a certain extent, feel like I've been biased by the fact that I even knew the last chapter had been taken out at one point. I think I read it somewhat differently because of it. Which is a shame, because I didn't want to.


Krasimira Can I find the last chapter on the Internet somewhere free? I would really like to read it.


Thomas Paul Burgess claims to have written the book in three weeks. I have a feeling the final chapter was written in an afternoon at the pub before throwing the book in an envelope and mailing it to his publisher.


Caroline I've always read the book with this final chapter. To me, it adds nothing to the story, at least nothing interesting, excepted, maybe, if we want to talk about the Ludovico treatment's failure. Alex decided that it was time to grow-up, to have his own family and to leave once and for all the life of violence he was living. But his very own character clearly didn't change; he clearly explained that he grew tired of his everyday life. He never said that his acts looked disgusted / unbearable / intolerable to him; he was just bored, which is completely different.


So, to me, the final chapter isn't necessary. Alex didn't change, he is still linked to his creepy personality. With or without this chapter, there is no happy end (which is not necessary to make the story worth reading and interesting).


Krasimira I think that the last 21st chapter is the best chapter and it truly gives an end to the story and not reading it is just a shame. I cannot completely agree with Caroline that it there is not a happy ending. The end of both chapter 20 and chapter 21 (the omitted one in the American edition) is open. It is for the reader to decide which path Alex will choose, but it is the 21st chapter that implies that Alex is starting to change and is getting weary of his violent teenage years and is ready to start a family.


message 37: by Herp (new)

Herp Derp In my opinion, the message of the final chapter was that Alex (and anybody) could change without the Ludovico Technique. As the chaplain said:'What does God want? Does God want goodness or the choice of goodness? Is a man who chooses the bad perhaps in some way better than a man who has the good imposed upon him?'. The Ludovico Technique works purely by using fear. While under the influence of the Ludovico technique, Alex might have still been bad, but was just forced to be good.
The fact that Alex becomes good by himself could also be interpreted from a religious point of view. You shouldn't do good things just because Bog wants you to, you should do good things for the sake of doing good things. You shouldn't do evil things just because you're scared of Bog, you shouldn't do them because they're evil. In 'A Clockwork Orange's case, Bog is the Ludovico Technique.


message 38: by Mkfs (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mkfs E.M. wrote: "The term A Clockwork Orange was never explained in the movie and has much to do with the plot and the last chapter of the book. Alex functioned as a clockwork, a product of both the expectations of..."

Well-explained.

The point that Alex is the product of his environment, as evidenced both by the title and by the final chapter (and also, if I recall correctly, in the conversation of the author character), is often overlooked.

As a reckless youth, his actions are the product of his gang (it is important that on his own, he listens to music and has sex with girls -- normal teenager stuff). After his incarceration and artificial reform, his actions are the product of the Ludovico technique. At the end, as he begins to mature and ponders life beyond his teenage indiscretions, he realizes that his son will go through exactly the same thing (thanks Jordon for the quote at #30).

Saying that the ending is unrealistic because Alex was a pyschopath or a sociopath, or because the change is so abrupt, misses this point. Alex is a typical youth bent and twisted by an uncaring society, and in a moment of realization, he becomes aware of this. And the novel ends.


Ashia Well, I do and don't like that the ending. I appreciate the added ending because of its answer to the question "Will Alex ever change?". On the other hand, I would've appreciated the cliff-hanger.


Philip Lee Ashia wrote: "Well, I do and don't like that the ending. I appreciate the added ending because of its answer to the question "Will Alex ever change?". On the other hand, I would've appreciated the cliff-hanger."

It's not an added ending. It was the ending Burgess wrote. What we're looking at is the conflict between authorial intent and authorial ambition/greed. His American publishers offered to put him on the "Lord of the Flies" bandwagon and he jumped. The only clause was the axing of the final chapter. So the USA got a censored version. How does that feel?


Ashia Philip wrote: "Ashia wrote: "Well, I do and don't like that the ending. I appreciate the added ending because of its answer to the question "Will Alex ever change?". On the other hand, I would've appreciated the ..."

The fact the USA received the censored version doesn't really change my opinion on the ending. The question specifically asked "can't decide if I like it better or not...anyone have ANY thoughts" without including what we believed about the intent of the author. I believe this was more of a "do you like it or not" question versus a "deep-thought" question on the author's ambition; which is why I answered the way I did.


Philip Lee Ashia wrote: "Philip wrote: "Ashia wrote: "Well, I do and don't like that the ending. I appreciate the added ending because of its answer to the question "Will Alex ever change?". On the other hand, I would've a..."

But those crazy Deep Thought questions must come up because both the filmed and then the staged versions of the book ended in the way Burgess originally intended. I don't know what happened to the film in the USA, but Kubrick refused to let the film go on general release in the UK and so it was censored there. I know how that made me feel because I well remember back in 1972 when we wanted to see it but couldn't. That was in the wake of the skinhead era and even in Liverpool, my city, some young guys had started dressing up as droogs to go into town and who knows what was going to happen next.


message 43: by Mkfs (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mkfs Philip wrote: "both the filmed and then the staged versions of the book ended in the way Burgess originally intended"

Did you mean "didn't end"?

Because Burgess is pretty clear that the 21st chapter is essential in A Clockwork Orange Resucked (available as the introduction in here).
The twenty-first chapter gives the novel the quality of genuine fiction, an art founded on the principle that human beings change.


In the same essay, he points out that the number of chapters is important to the overall structure of the book:
The book I wrote is divided into three sections of seven chapters each ... 21 is the symbol
for human maturity, or used to be, since at 21 you got the vote and assumed adult responsibility.
Whatever its symbology, the number 21 was the number I started out with.


Obviously, it's up to the individual reader to determine whether or not they like the final chapter (and, thereby, whether they side with Burgess or his editor). But Burgess does make a good case for its inclusion, however tacked-on it may feel.


Ashia Philip wrote: "Ashia wrote: "Philip wrote: "Ashia wrote: "Well, I do and don't like that the ending. I appreciate the added ending because of its answer to the question "Will Alex ever change?". On the other hand..."
(In the USA, the original ending isn't included in the film) That is actually a very interesting standpoint, especially with the examples of individual perceptions of the novel.


Philip Lee Ashia wrote: (In the USA, the original ending isn't included in the film)

Forgive me if I'm wrong, but the Kubrick film (which I own on DVD and all the DVDs have now been banished far upstairs) ended pretty much the same as the book (I mean the book as we know it in the UK). I didn't see the original stage production at the National Theatre, but I saw and reviewed a student production (using the same script) at Lancaster Uni in 1990 (I was doing my MA at the time). Again, it ended pretty much the same as the original book.


message 46: by Mkfs (last edited Apr 21, 2014 08:31AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mkfs Philip wrote: "Forgive me if I'm wrong, but the Kubrick film ."

The Kubrick films ends with chapter 20 (Alex cured of the Ludovico technique). This is the final chapter of the American version of the book, but the penultimate chapter of the original book.

Kubrick and McDowell are pretty clear that the film ignores the 21st chapter (Alex maturing out of his youthful violence) of the novel. Burgess is well-known to be on record disapproving of that decision. I can find no record of the final, 21st chapter ever being filmed by Kubrick, let alone added to a DVD as an extra,

I haven't seen the stage adaptation, or seen a script, so I cannot comment on that.

The editions of the novels I encountered in the UK a decade or so ago all had the 21st chapter. You must have obtained a copy of the novel from an American publisher, somehow.


Philip Lee Mkfs wrote: "Philip wrote: "Forgive me if I'm wrong, but the Kubrick film ."

The Kubrick films ends with chapter 20 (Alex cured of the Ludovico technique). This is the final chapter of the American version of ..."


I can't access my copy of the film, but I recalled a voiceover by Alex which covered the 21st. Sorry if my memory is playing tricks.


message 48: by Don (new) - rated it 5 stars

Don Parkhurst I read the American edition in the early 70s and saw the movie afterwards. So that's the version more or less burned into my head. I read Burgess' authorized edition with the 21st chapter in the 1990s. While I certainly respect the author's desire to have his artistic vision fully realized, I have to say that I prefer the truncated version that ends with Alex saying "I was cured..." or words to that effect. Burgess claims that his book is about free will and the dangers of living in a world without free will. However, I found Chapter 21 to be a bit too didactic and as a result destroying my free will to project my own imagined future for Alex.


Norliza M I enjoyed the final chapter... I love how it comes full circle and we really see how far Little Alex has come. After being cured, Alex returns to his old ways as teenagers or young adults often do, but he has changed, he has grown up and learnt from his past. It is a coming of age novel and I find that witnessing him realising the error of his ways and growing up naturally really makes a powerful statement. Kids will be kids, we can't force them out of bad habits, they must learn naturally and in their own time.

That being said, I still enjoyed Kubrick's ending. I thought it suited the film format.


message 50: by Don (new) - rated it 5 stars

Don Parkhurst I read an interview with Burgess in which he explained the book's structure and his overall purpose for that 21st chapter. It made complete sense and he was, after all, the author. But I still prefer the truncated version. I recently watched the film version again, and am amazed at how far ahead of its time the movie is. I'm not sure if such a movie could even be made in this politically correct world.


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