Original Research

Nadsat: The oscillation between reader immersion and repulsion

Natasha E. Ravyse
Literator | Vol 35, No 1 | a433 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v35i1.433 | © 2014 Natasha E. Ravyse | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 April 2013 | Published: 20 March 2014

About the author(s)

Natasha E. Ravyse, School of Languages, North-West University, Vaal Triangle Campus, South Africa


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Abstract

This article explores the oscillation between immersion and repulsion amongst readers of A clockwork orange by Anthony Burgess. I argue that nadsat, as an invented language, introduces the state of ‘reader immersion’ resulting in ‘flow’ by means of a ‘ludic reading’ motivational structure. Reader curiosity acts as a ‘positive reinforcer’ through the sense of accomplishment felt by mastering nadsat. Reader repulsion occurs once nadsat is understood. Repulsion is induced as a result of the brutality the nadsat narrative communicates. However, repulsion does not necessarily cause the reader to stop reading, but rather acts as a sensationally derived motivation to continue reading. This type of motivation is identified as a ‘negative reinforcer’. Both motivational structures (positive and negative reinforcers) develop the oscillation between reader immersion and repulsion as part of the reading experience A clockwork orange offers. The aim of this article is to discuss the oscillation between immersion and repulsion experienced by readers of A clockwork orange according to the theoretical frameworks indicated above.

Keywords

Ludic reading, Immersion, Flow theory, Reader repulsion, Oscillation

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