I think the main message of the story (beyond the mind control stuff) might have been something about intent and appearance
That media-wise..plubicity=wise...you can make a 'monster' seem to be an 'innocent' and an 'innocent' appear to be a 'monster'
He was brainwashed (by way of PTSD, of a sort) to be 'good' but he was still a monster..his victim..a man who was, actually, very kind..when realizing who he was, went nutso (PTSD) and attacked him..and was then portrayed as a monster, himself..
then he, the main character was 'fixed' to be his, natural, horrible self again
(though it also points out the life he led that help make him a monster..the poverty..his parents..etc...and the repurcussions of living life that way..when he went back..his parents new 'son'..being beat up by old gang members, etc...)
did you ever see The Bonfire of the Vanities?
Way different story..yet...
similar concept (minus the mind control and such)
Willie Wonka quotes..
What is this Wonka, some kind of funhouse?
Why? Are you having fun?
A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.
We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams