Clockwork Orange, A Easter Egg - Where's Chapter 21?

Everyone is familiar with Stanley Kubick's A Clockwork Orange, but few know that the movie did not end like the book did. Kubick left out the last chapter, where "your humble narrator" matures NATURALLY, in his own time.

(more detail in Books/Clockwork Orange)

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Contributed By: Prince Mu-Chao on 09-02-1999
Reviewed By: Webmaster
Special Requirements: A NON-AMERICAN version of the book Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
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Technically, Kubrick's movie -did- end like the book did... But only the US edition of the book. The twenty-first chapter from the original edition was cut by the American publishers, and this is the version which Kubrick was using.
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El Slabo writes:
I thought it was Kubrick's decision to cut the final chapter. It created a darker story, obviously. I guess Kubrick likes that, I think you'd have to if you could create films like "A Clockwork Orange" and "Full Metal Jacket."
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The UK edition of Burgesses book ended where the film did. However because of the US publishers misgivings about the amoral ending to the book,ie that Alex's freedom should include his right to violence, the publishers insisted that Burgess wrote a further chapter to indicate Alexs final renouncing of violence. This was confirmed by Burgess in a number of interviews and it vindicates Kubrick who was accused of fabricating an ending.
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steerpike writes:
The 21st chapter was always in the British version of the book. The first American editions replaced it with a guide to Nadsat (the language used in the book). It was this version Kubrick used when writing the screenplay. All versions now contain chapter 21 and the guide to Nadsat (as far as I know).
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Bolverk writes:
As far as I know, the 21st chapter of "A Clockwork Orange" was first published in the U.S. in an issue of "Rolling Stone" magazine, from about 1987. Anthony Burgess wrote an introduction, stating that he wanted the book to have 21 chapters because 21 is the age of maturity in the English-speaking world. In the 21st chapter, Alex is working for the government by day (in some kind of records department, cataloguing music!) and has assembled a new gang to continue his "ultraviolence" by night. However, he meets one of his old gang members...either Georgie or Pete, I forget which...who has married and settled down to a "normal" life. Alex decides that he wants to get married and settle down as well. Burgess thought this said something about human redemption...he was Catholic, after all. The U.S. publisher thought it was a cop-out ending. Guess what? The U.S. publisher was right! The book (and film) are much better without the 21st chapter.
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J.DeLarge writes:
Kubrick didn't end the movie the same way the book ends (in chapter 21)for many reasons, most of those are explained in the previous comments. One that I thnk is missing is the fact that chapter 21, being added just for moral purposes, is not fitting at all one of the main points of both movie and book, which is "freedom of judgemnt": even though Alex is "pure evil" he gains our simpathy immediately also because he's being deprived of the right to express his being. The fact that he's turning mature is completely irrelevant if not a mere contradiction! I reckon I expressed the concept very hastily, but I hope you'll get what I mean. By the way: Kubrick even cut out of the movie Alex's second homicide (the one in jail) because it was just redundant and not necessary for the movie.
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The Ending Of The NON-Us Version Was so much better. plus the whole book was better than the movie, except for the whole visual you get of alex and his droogs. in the book there's way moe looting, pillaging, and the good old Ultra-Violence. if you even for one second consider yourself a punk, you either need to own the movie, or have read the book many times. if you know the slang then you're punk. now here's an interesting thing i don't think most of you know. the actor who plays Alex is named Malcolm McDowell, now, on nickelodeon, there is a show called "Chalk Zone" on the chalk zone movie, the big blow up, he plays the voice of the centipede thing, now that's pretty cool.
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Lizzie writes:
I just watched "A Clockwork Orange" for the first time tonight and the reason that I went looking for this site was because I didn't understand the ending at all. Call me stupid, but I didn't think that Alex's cure was evident. I read that in the book they tell you that the government has to de-brainwash him and cure him to clear their name but in the movie I thought that the minister was trying to bribe him with the promise of a good job and medical care, but didn't catch any reference that they were a actually going to cure him. Then when they start playing the music he looks like he is about the have a convulsion, it cuts to the scene with him having sex on a cloud or something and he says he's cured! I wasn't sure if he had died or what. Am I just completely dense? I agree that the book ending sounds like a cop out, I don't really want Alex to become an upstanding member of society, but I do think it could have used some kind of clearer sum up.
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shalashaska writes:
What Burgess was trying to ask the reader was, Is it better to be a totaly out of control, free spirit capable of making choices than an autonamous being uncapable of breaking laws and doing wrong? Alex in the novel was only doing what came naturaly to him, by making him unable to do wrong he is no longer his natural self, like a clockwork Orange.
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