Literary Analysis

706 words - 3 pages

As a first hand observer of the Civil War, the great American Poet, Walt Whitman once said,"The real war [of the mind] will never get in the books."Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a horrible mental ailment that afflicts thousands of soldiers every year. Besides the fact that it is emotionally draining for the soldier, it also deeply alters their family and their family dynamics. Ernest Hemingway’s “Soldier's Home” illustrates how this happens. Harold Krebs returns home from World War I. He has to deal with becoming reaccustomed to civilian life along with relearning social norms. He must also learn about his family and their habits. The ramifications of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder have a ripple effect on the lives of not only the victim, but also the friends and family they relate to.

One of the first examples of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in “Soldiers Home” is exhibited in the main character, Harold Krebs. His life is completely changed after serving in World War I. Thus, he cannot live a normal life. To make matters worse, he decided to stay two years longer than most of his other comrades. This was probably because he did not know how to deal with the horrible memories of the war. People were not very sympathetic and thought he was irrational for taking so long to return home from Germany. Hemingway wrote, “He did not want to talk about the war. Later he felt the need to talk but no one wanted to hear about it.” His outlook on life had changed dramatically in everything he did. He often felt like he lost his motivation for living and everything seemed drab and uninteresting.

Because Krebs’ life had been flipped upside down by PTSD, his parents’ lives were drastically changed as well. They tried very hard to help him assimilate back into society. Unfortunately, they did not fully understand how PTSD had changed him. They tried to relate to him using things from his past like letting him drive the family car. He also did not respond to their affection. Krebs’ mom said “Don’t you...

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