Prestige During The Vietnam War

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Prestige and Death What is prestige? According to dictionary.com, prestige is your reputation or influence arising from success, achievement, rank, or other favorable attributes. The word 's definition can be traced as far back as 360 B.C.E. when it was used in Plato’s Socratic dialogue, Crito. In the dialogue, the character Crito, when trying to break out Socrates from jail, says, “For if you die I shall not only lose a friend who can never be replaced, but there is another evil: people who do not know you and me will believe that I might have saved you if I had been willing to give money, but that I did not care.” This quote from a piece of work that was created 2375 years ago brings up the question: how important is prestige in society?…show more content…
for men between the ages of nineteen and 25. Most of these men though did not want to go to a foreign country to fight for a country, a flag, or an ideal that they did not believe in. Some of them had the option to stay at home if they had physical problems, were attending college, or were needed at home to support their families. But, the ones that were unlucky and didn’t have any excuse had to go and fight the war unless they fled to Canada. A book called the The Things They Carried by Tim O’ Brien actually chronicles first hand the journey and the embarrassment one must experience to flee the draft. At first Mr. O’ Brien wants to flee to Canada even though he knows that he won’t be able to see his family again or that he won’t be able to come back to the states. However, when he is only twenty yards away from the border, he can’t risk the embarrassment from his hometown and the whole universe, so he goes to the war. During the war, Mr. O’ Brien figures out that the only reason that any of his fellow soldiers are at the war was so their prestige wouldn’t go down. He goes so far as to say, “Men killed, and died, because they were embarrassed not to… They died so as not to die of embarrassment.”(O’ Brien, 21) If someone during the draft hadn’t gone to Vietnam to die for something they didn’t believe in then they would have been looked down upon by society just because our society is so
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