Soldier's Home By Ernest Hemingway Essay

1252 words - 5 pages

Soldier’s Home by Ernest Hemingway

In Soldier’s Home, Ernest Hemingway depicts Harold Krebs return home from World War I and the problems he faces when dealing with his homecoming and transition back towards a normal life. After the fighting overseas commenced, it took Krebs a year to finally leave Europe and return to his family in Oklahoma. Once home, he found it hard to talk about all he had seen in his tour of duty overseas, which should be attributed to the fact that he saw action in some of the bloodiest, most crucial battles towards the culmination of the war. Therefore, Krebs difficulty in acknowledging his past is because he was indeed a “good soldier” (139), whose efforts in order to survive “The Great War,” were not recognized by his country, town and even worse, his own family.

After his late return from the war, Krebs moved back to the home of his family in Oklahoma. Although this seems common to what most soldiers would do after war, Krebs stay away from his family had been an elongated one. This is not just because of his leisure time at the Rhine with German prostitutes after the war had ended, but also because he went to the war direct from a “Methodist College in Kansas” (136). With that information, we can deduce that Krebs had not lived with his family for more than two years, but most likely between four and six. This must have put a serious strain on his relationship with his family members, who in his own mind, obviously lived in a different world than he did. Before the war, his father did not even trust him with responsibility of taking out the family car. Now, on his return, his “father was noncommittal” and basically absent from his life, not to mention he is never actually present at any time in the story. The only time Krebs father is brought up in conversation, is by Krebs mother when she tells him that they both had discussed Krebs being able to take out the family car. Even when his mother reveals that it had been his father’s idea, Krebs replied “I’ll bet you made him” (139). This statement is a clear hint into the way Krebs truly feels about his father, whom he seems to have no faith in. Krebs relationship with his mother is not much better, when she asked if he loved her, he quickly responded “No”(140), which sent her to tears. This was probably not always the truth, Krebs having been raised in the South, was once probably groomed to be full of familial values and to be strong in his faith. Now after his return, his entire instilled value system was thrown completely off course by being witness to and involved in the severe atrocities of war. This is why he could not love anymore; the mere thought of it nauseated him. He could not assimilate back into living a regular life with the thoughts of regular men. In seeing so much that should be out of the ordinary, he never wanted to deal with common human issues again, not to mention consequences. Krebs relationship with his sister is probably his best with...

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