The Manchurian Candidate Analysis

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The Cold War was a time of heightened fear in the United States. The looming threat of a Communist takeover hung over every citizen. People lived in a state of constant paranoia because anyone could have been a Communist, from their neighbor to their doctor, no one knew. One of the ways Americans believed Communism made its way into the United States was through brainwashing. The concept of brainwashing threatened the idea that each individual American has agency and is makes decisions under his own control. At its root, brainwashing took away a right that Americans prided themselves on, liberty. The Manchurian Candidate is a political thriller released during the height of the Cold War. The film follows Korean War veteran who returns to the United States as a brainwashed political assassin …show more content…
Throughout the scene, cuts are made to make it seem like at some points the nightmare occurs in a Communist meeting, while in others it takes place in a garden club. Yen Lo then calls Raymond to the center of the stage in order to demonstrate the effectiveness of his brainwashing methods. In her article, Susan Carruthers says, “The Chinese communists interest in indoctrination also helped to reinforce certain notions about totalitarianism, namely that its essence was remodeling of society from the inside out by taking inner control of each individual citizen” (Carruthers 79). This means in the case of Raymond Shaw, he was not brainwashed through methods like physical torture but instead through psychological torture. In fact, his Chinese and Russian captors used Pavlovian techniques in order to brainwash him. (Carruthers 77) Raymond is programmed to kill through the use of the game solitaire and is told by Yen Lo to name his least favorite member of his platoon. He first says Marco but Yen Lo asks him to choose another person, who is Ed Mavole. Raymond is instructed to