The Manchurian Candidate Themes & Symbolism

This Study Guide consists of approximately 42 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Manchurian Candidate.
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The primary theme of this novel is the idea that a human being can be operated as though he were nothing more than a machine. Using the latest psychiatric theories of conditioning, Chinese doctor Yen Lo brainwashes Raymond Shaw in such a way that he will obey any command, and conditions the other men of Shaw's patrol to believe him a hero. Under Yen Lo's orders, Shaw executes two American soldiers, behaving as an amoral weapon completely devoid of free will. Shaw will go on to perform more assassinations, primarily under his mother's command, but does not remember committing the murders. In other words, the person "Raymond Shaw" is removed from the equation and his body becomes a useful tool, because Shaw is welcomed everywhere as a Medal of Honor hero. This theme is also explored through other characters, such as Raymond's mother and Senator...

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This section contains 670 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Manchurian Candidate Study Guide
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