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I chose for my text transformation to use the base text ‘A Clockwork Orange’ by Anthony Burgess. This novel interested me because of its individual language of ‘Nadsat’, a form of slang created by Burgess for gangs of violent English teenagers. The slang serves a serious purpose, which is too keep the violence of the protagonist from becoming unbearable to its reader, keeping the language partly veiled, for example making ‘gratizny bratchny’ sound more pleasant than its meaning ‘dirty bastard’.
It is important to realise that its audience of the 60’s have not yet become subject to such violence and despair explored in the novel.
So what have I done? I have taken four characters from the novel (Alex’s parents, Alex and the schoolmaster) and placed them into ‘The Jerry Springer Show’, creating a parody of the show. I have given Alex’s parents the names of Janet and Derek and looked at their perspective of Alex’s violent activities.
As I would chronologically slot the show in just before the police catch him, I have kept Alex’s attitude of his enjoyment of violence.
When the schoolmaster has been beaten up and staggers off, that is the last we have heard of him in the novel, I decided to give him a voice and see what he would have said about his attack. So why did I choose to do this? ‘The Jerry Springer Show’ is a dysfunctional show and Alex is a dysfunctional character. Jerry Springer’s show is amoral TV; it is outrageous, shocking, scandalous and hilarious.
The show has no limits. Nearly all stories have major big twists that unfold as more guests get called out.
These guests often get violent and try to kick and punch other parties involved, whilst typically Jerry tries to redeem his guests. This is why I think it works well with the character of Alex and his behaviour seen in the novel. The novel represents the society in which Alex lives in as complete dystopian, dark and dismal, with no law and order. ‘The Jerry Springer Show’ is a chat show, although it is very staged with his agenda-setting questions and appearing guests, the show is almost entirely full of spontaneous speech.
Therefore I decided to do a transcript version of the show, although obviously not true to its discourse as I would be giving the characters a voice as appose to spontaneous speech written down as it is heard. Jerry Springer, as an American, has his own geographical dialect. It was important to keep this as well as phrases ‘singly the best audience’ and his own idiolect ‘right’, ‘well’, ‘hey’, ‘so’, to indicate his regional origin. Jerry has an informal register that contains much ellipsis, such as “you’re singly the best” and “here ’cause you love”.
The graphology of the transformation is laid out in the convention of the transcript. The names of the characters have been placed on the left hand side indicating who is talking and to the right, is what is actually being said: “Alex: are you saying do i enjoy lubbilubbing with a devotchas Janet: against their will alex against their will Alex: not recently no em” Sounds that are not fore grounded I have placed in italics for example, the audience’s reactions to the quests comments “(Audience boos loudly)”.
As this is a transcript and not a play, I have not included stage directions or actions taken by the characters, as a recording of the show a transcript would only contain sounds heard on the recorder. The syntax of Alex and his friends, in the novel, is completely different to that of any other characters. The Nadsat slang has derived from many different language sources but many are Slavic in origin. A mixture of Russian and demotic English, with elements of rhyming slang and gypsy talk, ‘O my brothers’, as well as anglicized words and amputations ’em’, ‘pee’.
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