Study Guide

From Here to Eternity Courage

Courage

PREWITT: Look, I told Holmes and I'm telling you... I ain't fighting. I quit fighting! You guys want to put the screws on, go right ahead. I can take anything you can dish out.

Prewitt actually expresses his courage by not fighting instead of fighting. Sometimes it's more courageous to resist.

MAGGIO: I just hate to see a good guy get it in the gut.

BUCKLEY: You better get used to it, kid.

The "good guy" in question is Prewitt. Buckley's cynical (though not necessarily inaccurate) opinion suggests that courage and virtue aren't typically honored in the world.

PREWITT: A man don't go his own way, he's nothing.

WARDEN: Maybe back in the days of the pioneers a man could go his own way, but today you got to play ball.

Warden's actually a capable soldier and fighter, but at this stage of the movie he's become a lackey to the unscrupulous Captain Holmes. His arc as a character involves shaking this lack of independence off.

LORENE: What's "The Treatment"?

PREWITT: Some of the guys putting me over the jumps because I won't fight.

LORENE: Fight?

PREWITT: Yeah. On the boxing team. I don't want to box. I don't even want to think about it. I don't want to think about it. And they make me think about it. Every day.

Prewitt's avoiding boxing for principled reasons—he accidentally blinded a friend in the ring and lost his taste for fighting. So, this is another thing he's continually reminded of by "The Treatment."

HOLMES: What's the matter with you, Prewitt? You know better than to talk back to a non-commissioned officer.

PREWITT: Yes, sir. But I have never liked being spit at, not even by a non-commissioned officer.

HOLMES: You owe Sergeant Galovitch an apology.

PREWITT: I don't think so. Sergeant Galovitch owes me an apology.

Prewitt's speaking truth to power here. Unfortunately, Holmes isn't nearly as principled or courageous as Prewitt—being the man who's orchestrating his persecution in the first place.

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