Brew Of Life Essay Research Paper Anthony

Brew Of Life Essay, Research Paper Anthony Burgess, Selective Individualist It is often said that life is full of choices and the choices you make is what

Brew Of Life Essay, Research Paper

Anthony Burgess, Selective Individualist

It is often said that life is full of choices and the choices you make is what

makes you yourself. Society, however, has since the dawn of time tried to control

the thoughts of individuals by forcing ideas upon them that destroys the person on

a mental and emotional level while crushing their physical well-being. With the

thoughts of a perfect world, people often forget that when you force a society to

conform to standards you also kill the society’s existence in the process, making it

more machine that human. It takes a strong and educated person to realize these

mistakes made by society and try to show others why it’s wrong to try force

conformity. Anthony Burgess’ belief that “a man who cannot choose ceases to be

a man” is exemplified in most of his works, but most notably in A Clockwork

Orange in which a so-called good society tries to change the psyche of a troubled


Born John Anthony Burgess Wilson, Anthony Burgess is a man of great

stature and respect. “A big man of sturby, ramshackle appearance, with a blunt

disarming manner and awesome energy (Clemons 56).” He loved life and

expressed it in his works of literature. Born in Manchester, England during the

influenza epidemic, during which his mother and sister passed away soon after his

birth, Burgess’ was ignored by his father who he received little to no attention

from. This, however, allowed him to create the thoughts and ideas which he

preaches. He was a man of little religious belief because he questioned why man

was put on earth. Burgess believed that people should live life in the present not

for the future, which labeled him an anarchist by the church of England. He didn’t

mind the accusations though, he was content with the life he led. (Clemons 56)

Anthony Burgess was a frail child, secluded from the world. At the

age of four he used his time to try and discover a talent in the arts. He highly

enjoyed drawing, writing poems, and essays but was always searching for the one

medium that he would succeed at. Burgess found music to be a art form he

enjoyed the most and studied it up to college were he was forced to study English

because he had a lack of qualifications. Although a little unappreciative at first

Burgess soon found a new love in English and obtained a BA degree with honors

in 1940 from Manchester University. He Jumped from job to job teaching

English soon after, always trying to find happiness. Burgess worked in many

diverse areas ranging from a English master in a grammar school near oxford to

an education officer for the colonial office an Malaysia. Burgess used his free-

time to write, but didn’t expect too much to come from it because of a doubt in his

talent. It was in Malaysia where he had his first novels, The Malaysian Trilogy

published. Burgess soon returned home, however, in 1959 he was diagnosed with

a brain tumor and was told he only had a year to live. At this point Burgess began

to write novels to support his widow-to-be wife. This was how the world came to

know him, and the reason Burgess started to write as a profession. (Clemons 57)

Anthony Burgess acquired a fine taste for writing and was relieved to here

the news of a medical error in his diagnosis. Burgess saw a sign, a blessing telling

him to live life and do what you want to do not what your told to do. This was the

whole basis of his belief that people should be themselves and it was seen in his

writings from that point on. “Instead of writing about the same topics as other

writers of the same time period, [Burgess] concentrated on the themes of the

danger of loss of individuality (Tilton 55).” However, Burgess was criticized

about his ideas because they didn’t follow the churches ideas about thinking in

terms of your afterlife. This got him in some muddy water, but only fueled the

fire within. (Tilton 56)

Challenging the church was a hard task. It seemed like it was Burgess

against the world in his effort to prove his point, but it didn’t phase him just

helped him get ideas for writing more controversial material. In the late 1950’s

Burgess started to work on the one piece of literature that was to share his belief

of individuality with the world. A Clockwork Orange was written because of the

criticizing of the church and was to be the pinnacle of Burgess’ career in as a

writer. Burgess once said, “My god, I had to write A Clockwork Orange in a state

of near drunkenness, in order to deal with material that upset me so much.”

Burgess’ literal value was often doubted because of his well known alcoholism,

and critics question the integrity before it’s release. Upon it’s release, however, all

the skepticism stop because the critics were shocked at Burgess’ war against the


A Clockwork Orange was perhaps one of the most controversial novels of

the early 1960’s. Published in 1962, by Heinemann, it focused on “Burgess’

horrifying vision of the future of England (Gaduer 84),” and explains how

spiritual life could lead to ones damnation. In the story, the main character, Alex

Delonge is a troubled youth that seeks, but just for an escape from prison,

treatment that ultimately destroys his well-being. Alex’s character is written from

the point of view of Burgess, and the way he feels. Alex has chosen a very evil

life to live but is spiritually content because he hasn’t conformed to the world that

he hates with a passion. “The story compels the readers to like the violence that is

committed because it shows the true nature of [Alex] (Tilton 105).” After being

arrested for violent acts upon the conformist, society, Alex is put in prison which

he would do anything to get out of. He is offered a means of escape by going

through an experimental treatment process that alters his life by forcing him to

conform to the way of life he despises through means of mental control

techniques. This makes him seem empty and emotionless. “The final chapter

shows Alex as a sincere person but he likes it, he begins to question god

wondering if god wants people to be good or if he wants people to be themselves

(Tilton 105).”

The novel brought an uproar from the church and the religious community.

“non-augustinan Christians as well as conventional progressives objected to the

extremity of Burgess’ pessimism, as well as his basically romantic conception of

evil (Bergonzi 85).” On the other hand, Burgess gained the respect from people

all over the world. People saw that A Clockwork Orange had “philosophical as

well as literary importance (Bergonzi 85).” Anthony Burgess had got the

response he was looking for, he shared his ideas with the world and it was

accepted from a majority of people.

In 1971 Stanley Kubrick adapted A Clockwork Orange into a film

which only helped Burgess gain even more respect. However, due to Burgess’ use

of an artificial language “nadsat”, which is a combination of Russian and

American slang, Kubrick was forced to reject Burgess’ original script for the film

version. “Kubrick took out a mass majority of Burgess’ ‘nadsat’, but tried to make

up for it in visual equivalent but failed and is no way as good as the novel itself

(Gaduer 84).” Burgess believed that the film failed to convey the themes of the

novel and urged people to read the book to better understand the concepts he

wrote about in A Clockwork Orange. (Tilton 57)

With his new found popularity Burgess continued to write novels but, also,

experimented in other forms of literature. During the 1960’s Burgess turned to

journalism to make a living. He wrote many articles for various newspapers all

throughout American and Britain. Along with journalism Burgess tried to

produce at least one novel a year even though he was a very busy man. In 1969,

Burgess went back to teaching writing courses in creative arts at Princeton

University, and Columbia University. In 1971, Anthony Burgess gave up

teaching to try and produce an adaptation of his own work Cyrano De Bergena

which was praised for his translation from the original work at the summer

festival in Tyrone Guthrie Theatre. Thus, started a career in playwriting. He

successfully adapted novels of his own to film versions. His plays were strongly

influenced by James Joyce, who was known for his word play, riddles, and puns.

Burgess continued to write and produce plays for three years, and has since then

turned back to writing articles for newspapers. (Clemons 58)

In modern times, Anthony Burgess’ influence is easily seen all throughout

the world, but people are misinterpreting his ideas. Although considered an

anarchist by the church of England Burgess had no intent of trying to produce a

society in which there is no law or control over people. He realized that there

needed to be a way of keeping people under control. Burgess favored democracy

because it allowed to people to select an educated official to represent themselves.

He knew that without education there would be a lack of knowledge of how to

survive. However, he did believe that people should be free to make there own

decisions without having to worry about people condemning them. Modern day

anarchist are taking Burgess out of context by saying that people don’t have to do

anything that people say to do.

Anthony Burgess is considered a leader in a movement for individuality.

He is seen as a hero for the modern day people seeking to escape from the set

standards of how life should be, and how people should act. He was raised in a

time when you were expected to listen to what to people in power had to say and

follow their orders. People respect his determination because there wasn’t a

majority to back him up in his fight. Through hardwork and determination

Anthony Burgess has successfully conveyed his belief that “A man who cannot

choose ceases to be a man.”

“I believe that the wrong god is temporarily ruling the world, and that the

true god has gone under. Thus, I am a pessimist but believe the world has much

solace to offer- love, food, music… the pleasure of artistic creation” -John

Anthony Burgess Wilson