The President, Miguel Asturias Use of Fear to Control

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In the novel The President, Miguel Asturias shows that fear controls personal identity in a totalitarian government. He explains that the fear of death and punishment controls a society and alters the unique way of life. Personal identity is the unique set of emotions, experiences, and lifestyles that make up an individuals life. Religious devotion and Christian resignation becomes apparent in a life dominated by fear and paranoia. True feelings and emotions can be hidden by fear. Fear and paranoia of the surrounding environment can cause a person to live an isolated life. Fear causes people to pray for salvation and have Christian resignation because of the hope they gain from it. Christian resignation refers to the submission of a person's life to Christian ideology of salvation and life everlasting. The Christian idea of life everlasting provides an excellent escape from the present life of fear and paranoia. It blinds people from the true desperation present to them in their life. The idea of fear causing Christian resignation becomes evident in the novel when the sacristan tries to remove himself and others from the fear of the government through prayer. "The sacristan's voice spread Christian resignation throughout the prison cell"(202) in order to provide hope from the state of fear they are currently living in. Another example at the end of the novel is when the student's mother is seen praying to God for the people who are dying and "[suffering] persecution of the law"(287) resulting from the president's rule. She says "Kyrie eleison" which is a petition to God ask for him to grant mercy. Her praying for relief from her current sate of fear and paranoia immediately gratifies her with the prospect of liv... ... middle of paper ... ... towards the enemies of the government helps fear remain an effective governing force. An example today of a totalitarian regime that uses fear to control is Iraq. The leader Saddam Hussein gained his power and maintains his regime by performing brutal acts to his enemies to instill fear in his population. The fear and oppression he places on his people make thousands of them support religious ideals. During his presidential election Saddam received a hundred percent of the population votes in his favor. The majority of the Iraqis that voted for Saddam would vote against him if they did not fear Saddam's secret police. Lastly in Iraq people are paranoid to speak out against the government because of fear of punishment and death by the secret police. Since Iraq is a totalitarian government run by fear the people will only become more untrustworthy and isolated.

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