I dunno. It may be "prestigious"', but it also means being willing to literally erase who you have been your entire life. That it's likely you may never see your family, friends, home again. That you're willing to trade real relationships for, essentially, fake ones. I think most people who sign up to do that would be, at the very least immature, and most likely broken in some way.
Like, one theory SisterMagpie and I have tossed about is that Philip might've either grown up as an orphan, or lost his family at some point along the way. That could've put him into a position where he wouldn't have had much of anything to give up/leave behind. In that scenario, if he was a young man of 18, no connections or support system, and suddenly discovered he was pretty good at the whole spy thing, I could see why the prospect of America would seem like an opportunity, as well as something he could genuinely be good at. He adapts wherever he is and is very pragmatic, so I could see him weighing his options and thinking the sleeper thing (something he's naturally a whiz at in a cushy assignment country) would be a much better choice than some factory job and being constantly hungry back in the USSR. Especially at 18 when maybe he wasn't necessarily at a stage of asking existential questions about living a lie, having children as cover, etc. Of course, this is all speculation. We know so little about Philip that lots of theories could fit.
People who fill their lives with ideology do so, in my experience, because they have nothing else.
Elizabeth, I feel is broken emotionally in a way, but that in my mind stems more from the rape and the aftermath of having all her ability to choose taken from her by the KGB (like being forced to marry Philip, etc.) Like, I didn't get the sense in flashbacks that she was broken as a child, or that some big change occurred at some point, though I guess it could have and maybe we find that out later. She has a warm, loving relationship with her mother. She cared for and was cared by Zhukov in a father/daughter sort of way. Most of her emotional problems seem to be tied to forming a real relationship where people can poke and prod at her. Like having a real romantic relationship as opposed to a fake-mission one, or a never-complete affair one, and pulling the pieces of herself together into something that feels like "the truth" to her. Like she has a hard time being a mother because she has to lie to Henry and Paige about everything, but has no problem being a daughter. So that's what gives me the sense that maybe she was pretty headstrong and a little communist in training as a younger girl, but that the rape messed other things up and she kind of coped with it by pushing feelings aside and throwing herself even harder towards the cause. Just a theory.
The sense I got was that her father having died before she knew him instilled a strong sense of patriotism in her. Her mother working for the local party committee did the same. They had very little, which taught her to work hard and value what she had. This seems like the perfect scenario to create a very ideological young woman, who would seek to follow in her parents' footsteps.
Edited by Hal25, Jul 22, 2013 @ 11:59 AM.