Native Speaker ( Chang-rae Lee ) & The Manchurian Candidate ( John Frankenheimer )

4 April 2015
Examines the novel’s & film’s exploration of questions of human identity in the realm of political espionage & intrigue.

Both the novel Native Speaker by Chang-Rae Lee and the film The Manchurian Candidate (1962), also based on a novel (by Richard Condon), are essentially spy novels, but underlying the plights faced by the leading characters in each are questions of identity. For the main character in Native Speaker, this issue is related to the immigrant experience. Henry Park is not himself an immigrant, having been born in New York, but he is a Korean-American and must face issues of identity related to his ethnic roots and the treatment accorded Koreans in this country. The main character in The Manchurian Candidate is an American as well, without a secondary ethnic identity, but he faces questions of his own identity in a very terrible way as his mind is made to obey the commands of a foreign conspiracy bent on using him to destroy the democratic structure of the United States. Identity..
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