Date of Award

8-2010

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

Committee Chair

Charles B. Sumner

Committee Chair Department

English

Abstract

This thesis utilizes Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange to develop a new discussion concerning the impact of the emergence of youth subculture on society in England in the 1950s. Youth subcultures like the Nadsats and the Teddy Boys developed a new style that undermined the social taboos, and in doing so, attempted to create a sense of identity that was separated from their parents and existing forms of both high and low cultures. However, instead of transcending these sources of authority and identity, the language and style of these new subcultures actually only provided the illusion of difference from society. Teenagers needed increasing amounts of money in order to commodify their clothes and accessories and thereby "perform" their deviance. Although they were using fashion to deviate from their limited possibilities as members of the working class, they were financially supporting the class system that oppressed them and were simultaneously creating a new market from which the corporate executives and investors who made up the elite classes could expect to profit regularly. Consequently, the youth subcultures, such as the Nadsats and the Teddy Boys, helped to solidify the class structures they hoped to transcend.

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