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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department / School


First Advisor

John Taylor


In this thesis I explore the use of structural metaphors and their effect on the reader in Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange. I first describe M.A.K. Halliday’s analysis of literary style as a medium for structuring characters’ worldviews and readers’ understanding of those views. I then discuss the invented language nadsat in which the protagonist of A Clockwork Orange, Alex, narrates the story, and argue that it qualifies as an anti-language according to Halliday’s definition. Halliday explains that an antilanguage is generated by an anti-society as a means of maintaining an alternative morality within that society. I then explain George Lakoff and Mark Johnson’s theory of metaphor as a cognitive device for structuring our understanding of our reality. I identify in A Clockwork Orange a number of new metaphors which Alex uses to structure his world, and give examples from the text which illustrate how Alex and the other characters employ these metaphors. I then consider science fiction writers’ use of the theory of linguistic relativity to establish their characters’ perception and understanding of their worlds. I demonstrate that because we are forced to structure our understanding of Alex’s world using his metaphors, this results in our indoctrination into his alternative morality, and our sympathy with him.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Metaphor in literature


Includes bibliographical references (pages 96-100)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright