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Does the Individual Really Make a Difference?

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In the book Ten Questions, Charon argues that there are crucial variables that limit the impact that an individual can have throughout the course of one’s life. In the movie “From Here to Eternity,” the characters in the movie are perfect examples of an individual influencing one’s life. Charon gives us four levels of evaluation to see if the individual can make a difference in: their own lives, the lives of those with whom they interact with, various organizations which they belong to, and in society. “From Here to Eternity,” shows us many characters that may have had a difference on each other. The main character from which the story follows is a man named Robert E. Lee Prewitt who demands an Army transfer and ends up at Schofield in Hawaii. Prewitt is asked by his new Captain to box for their company but Prewitt doesn’t box anymore so he turns the Captain’s request down which in result, the captain tells his subordinates to make Prewitt’s life a living hell.

According to Charon’s first level of evaluation, we see each character in “From Here to Eternity,” make a difference in their own lives at some point. Each character in the film has free will which according to Charon means that each character has some control over their own lives, some ability to make a difference in directing what they think and do. An example of this can be seen through Prewitt’s best friend Maggio who at one point in the film is appointed to stand guard at the base while others go out and have fun. Maggio even though appointed guard at the time, decides to dessert his post out of his own free will which in the end causes him to get six months in the stockade and later killed. Maggio is free at some extent because he has free will but because he is in the army he has to do what they tell him to do. The Army is the social factor that limits each character’s free will in this movie. So yes, Maggio did make a difference in his own life by fulfilling what he wanted to do at the time rather than stand guard, however, it came with a punishment.

Charon’s second level of evaluation can be seen through Prewitt’s love interest Lorene Burke whose real name is Alma Burke but because she is a prostitute, she has a stage name. Alma and Prewitt fall in the love in the movie and throughout the film, we know that Alma someday wants to go back to the states to take care of her mother by building her a house and joining the country club. Alma never fulfills this wish of hers until her lover, Prewitt is killed. We can say that it was Prewitt’s death that influenced her to go back to the states because earlier in the film he asks her to marry him and she refuses, however, in the end of the film, Alma is on the boat headed back to the mainland and we hear here call Prewitt her fiancé.

Charon’s third level of evaluation can be seen through the Prewitt’s refusal to not box. Because he turns down the Captains offer for him to box for the company, Captain Holmes decides to make Prewitt’s stay in the army a living hell by making fun of him, making him do kitchen duty, as well as Holmes’ subordinates making him work harder. All of this leads up to Prewitt and one of his sergeants getting into a fight in which Captain Holmes decides to watch instead of stopping. Other Captains see this action and in result get Holmes fired which in result brings in a new Captain who decides to change things around in the Army base. One of the major decisions he makes is cancelling the boxing tournament after the death of Prewitt in the end of the film. So in a way, the refusal to not box for the company as well as his death made a difference on the organization he was a part of which was the Army.

Lastly, Charon’s fourth level of evaluation can be seen through each Army individual because by Prewitt, Maggio, Warden, and any other person, who may have been fighting in the war at the time, made a huge impact on society because of the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in which the movie ended. These guys made a difference in the society of Hawaii because of their dedication to fighting for their country and their sacrifice of their lives.

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