The Obsolete Man Analysis

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1. How does this episode explain the dangers of totalitarianism? “The Obsolete Man” explains the dangers of totalitarianism by creating such a scenario in which we are forced to realize how a totalitarian state could turn out to be. In this case, Mr. Wordsworth, a librarian, is called in by the state to a hearing that would determine if he was obsolete. The government has already deemed the elderly, the sick, the disabled, and those who do not hold a ‘valid’ role in society as such, and chose to exterminate. Mr. Wordsworth, whose role is not needed seeing as how the state banned books, was deemed obsolete and told he would be “liquidated”. Mr. Wordsworth objects, stating that a human life cannot be obsolete, but the state does not care, as …show more content…
This is because the episode itself hinted at what any country could become, specifically if controlled by a totalitarian government, which is what Americans viewed the Soviet Union as being. The Soviet Union aimed for complete control of the world, using communism as its ideology, which classified it as a totalitarian state. In addition to this, the last statement by the show’s host was, “…Any state, any entity, any ideology that fails to recognize the worth, the dignity, the rights of Man, that state is obsolete” (“The Obsolete Man”). This statement can be interpreted as a direct jab at communism, in which Americans felt was a form of “slavery”; i.e. that citizens were stripped of their rights. As determined before, the Soviet Union was technically a totalitarian entity, and the whole episode was focused on the dangers of totalitarianism. “The Obsolete Man” showed the horrors of what could happen in a totalitarian society—the stripping of individual rights and the extermination of those deemed “unworthy” or enemies of the state’s ideology, and even made references to both Hitler and Stalin. It is likely that this episode of The Twilight Zone, which aired in 1961, was an embodiment of what Americans felt was occurring in the Soviet Union. During the Cold War, Americans felt that communism was so terrible that any government who chose it as their ideology had no problems committing terrible acts, such as exterminating citizens. So, for the host to state the aforementioned quote in reference to the fake society, he was, in all actuality, saying this in reference to the Soviet

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