A Clockwork Orange Questions and Answers
by Anthony Burgess

Start Your Free Trial

What function does the artificial slang- "Nadsat"- serve in A Clockwork Orange?

Expert Answers info

D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write11,497 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Nadsat--or teenage--slang sets Alex and his friends off as a subculture. They don't speak standard English, and this helps establish that they look at the world through a different lens. Further, this language continually reminds us that we are in a different, future world that is not our world, reinforcing the science fiction aspects of this novel.

The slang is deliberately disorienting, and it forces us to slow down and really read the words on the page, rather than sliding over them glibly. We have to concentrate and think about what is being said in order to understand it. Often Alex and his friends use a slang term that brings a different connotation to a word. For example, instead of "cigarette," a fairly neutral term, they use "cancer," a much more loaded word that reminds us of the harshest implications of cigarette smoking. This also shows that they see through the pretenses of a...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 484 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write16,848 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial