The Manchurian Candidate Social Concerns

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The Manchurian Candidate is, in many respects, a faithful reflection of the state of the American psyche in the late 1950s. The aftermath of the Korean War, a military stalemate in which the ineffectiveness and low morale of U.S.

troops were prominently publicized, and the legacy of Senator Joseph McCarthy's allegations regarding Communist penetration of government agencies had both raised serious doubts about the fundamental integrity of American life. In such a context, The Manchurian Candidate's combination of a psychological horror story and a withering satire of social and political institutions seemed to offer a cogent explanation of the growing national malaise.

The psychological element consists in the novel's use of brainwashing, which had already entered public discourse through accounts of its success in breaking the morale of American prisoners of war, as the means of creating robotlike traitors whose existence would be almost impossible to detect...

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This section contains 438 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Manchurian Candidate Study Guide
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