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How Was He Viewed As A Student

984 words - 4 pages

In the fall of 1969, Ehrhart attended Swarthmore College at the age of twenty-one. Also during this time the student body of Swarthmore College “were middle class, academically paranoid, politically aware, and the students were antiwar” (Ehrhart 7). This proposed a problem for Ehrhart because during the spring of 1968, while Ehrhart was still over seas, the college had asked for a picture of him in his Marine uniform. Ehrhart realized that after he sent the photo, it would be used for the school’s Freshman booklet while all the commotion in school existed. He spent most of his days alone to avoid publicity and to keep a “low profile”. By October, however, the reporter for the campus newspaper Phoenix asked if he could interview Ehrhart. Ehrhart went to college to experience a normal life but after he revealed his secret about being a veteran in the school newspaper, he realized that he was only a celebrity.
After Ehrhart was mentioned in the Phoenix newspaper, the effect was so polarizing that students would drop by and check on him. Students would come to his dorm room, the library, and the students would interrupt Eahrhart’s meals. Ehrhart described the event as “instant celebrity” (Ehrhart 9). Ehrhart loved being the center of attention and meeting the entire student body. No one was ever rude to him and students seemed interested in Ehrhart’s story. Ehrhart just wanted the students to understand his hardship and the struggle that went along with being in the Marines for three years, which played a major role in his life because Ehrhart truly wanted to serve for his country. As time progressed, however, Ehrhart realized that a “pattern to the process began to emerge” (Ehrhart 9). Ehrhart began to have doubts about celebrity status.
During this brief time of celebrity status, Ehrhart was experiencing internal conflict with himself because he only wanted to live a normal life and forget about the war. Now a normal life was out of the question because the truth was revealed to the student body due to Ehrhart’s section in the Phoenix newspaper. Ehrhart mentioned, “Good-bye, anonymity” (Ehrhart 9), the entire situation changed from being a nobody to suddenly being a somebody. One might question why Ehrhart would even would agree to put his story in the school newspaper when his objective was to live a normal life and remain anonymous from the student body. Ehrhart mentions that “Vietnam veterans weren’t exactly the most popular kids on the block” (Ehrhart 7). That statement contradicts Ehrhart because he is a celebrity and he planned to live a normal life in college. In fact, Ehrhart wanted to live such a normal life that he wasn’t worried about the Freshman photo of him in the Marine uniform because Ehrhart’s appearance was different the first day of college. Ehrhart said,...

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