Eternity Essay

1772 words - 7 pages

From Here to Eternity was a good movie that reflected many aspects of the cultural milieu of the 1940's. Although the movie was viewed by many as one giant soap opera, in relation to the love affairs of Sergeant Warden and Private Prewitt, the love affairs, besides providing romantic cliches, illustrated disillusionment of the 1940's American ideals. The film itself was ground breaking, dealing with subjects never before touched by Hollywood. The 800 page book was extensively toned down by screenwriter Daniel Taradash later awarded with "Oscar" for his effort, yet the picture of the army was so negative that the army refused to co-operate in making the film, the first such incident. The attack of the Japan at the end of the movie also illustrated the true shock of the nation; ill prepared to fight a war. One of the main themes from the movie From Here to Eternity was the disillusionment with the 1940's version of the American dream, especially for women. Women ideally were still suppose to be mothers first and foremost. The idea of working women was absurd, especially in light of the fact that it was hard enough for men to hold steady jobs. In 1939, 67% of women approved a bill that would prohibit a woman from working in a business if her husband made more that $1,600 a year. (Gregory, 190) For the wife of an army officer, one of the higher echelons of society, life should have lived up to the highest standards. Yet this is not so, we find out that the Captain himself, is responsible for the death of their child and her sterility when he came home drunk the night Karen Holmes went into labor. The movie has dealt with a very taboo issue and indeed highlighted a shift in social values. In contrast to Karen Holmes, Alma a.k.a. Lorene, works in a "club" for the gentlemen of the island. When Prewitt proposes to her she claims at first that she works a in a club and is a mere step up from the street and would not make a decent wife. Prewitt then pushes arguing that he himself is just a private and even worse social position. At this point Alma's true feelings come out, she wants to make a lot of money then move back to Seattle and build a house for her and her mother. Then she claims that she will live a "proper" life with a proper husband etc., most importantly she describes her life as safe. Alma represents the insecurities of the times the dog eat dog mentality of a lingering depression. A society that just went though a terrifying decade of depression would understandably enter the next with lingering fears. Especially for single women of low social rank and income (i.e. she wants to build a "home" for her mother) who are desperately trying to live a safe life, even if that might entail giving up true love. Alma, however, does not choose a safe life over Prewitt, instead she begs him to stay and be with her, and it is he who abandons her. He however shows unflinching loyalty to the army, which Alma claims, only "killed your...

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