Ernest Hemingway’s short story “Soldier’s Home” is one of his inspiring pieces of work, that gives the reader a insight view into life after returning from war. This story is a part of his “In Our Time” story collection. This is a collection of short stories that Hemingway wrote as a way to reflect his attempts to readjust back to his life after being a soldier in war himself (165). The story “Soldier’s Home” was written in 1925 (165) and tells the journey of Harold Krebs, a man just returning back to his small-town life, after serving in World War 1. “Soldier’s Home also goes over Krebs’s struggle with being back home and trying to get his life back to how it was before Krebs was sent off to fight in Germany. This paper will be an analysis of the themes trauma of war, loneliness, and connection. And how they affect Krebs.
The one of the main theme in “Soldier’s Home” is the trauma of war and returning back home with this trauma. From the beginning you can see that Krebs excepted for his life to return back to normal. But Krebs is no longer the same men that he was before he left to go to war. The war has made him grow up in a sense. As you start to read this story, you start to understand that Krebs is going through post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD is a mental health condition that triggered by a terrifying event (). This definition can be used to help explain the dull life Krebs starts to live. Krebs starts to sleep in later and no longer has the energy to talk to anyone. It is also quoted that Krebs “In the evening he practiced on his clarinet,
strolled down town, read, and went to bed” () isolating himself away from others. He starts to wander without a purpose and creates a huge disconnect from people he once knew. This disconnection is apparent with his relationship with his family. When his mother asked if he loved her, he responded back ‘I don’t love anyone’ ()
Another theme of this story is loneliness and connections. In the beginning of the short story, Hemingway tells of a picture hanging up on the wall of Krebs and his old fraternity brothers. In this picture, each brother is described as wearing the same height and style collar (166). This picture is important because it shows Krebs’s life before going off to war. It shows the readers that before the war, Krebs wasn’t as distance as he is now. It also shows that the war has caused him to become distance him from the people he once knew. another it is also noted in the story, that once Krebs came back to his home town, he wasn’t given the same hero’s welcome as the other soldiers. This was because Krebs was the last of the soldiers in the town to return home, and the townspeople give him little to no attention because they had already heard the other soldiers war stories and weren’t interested in hearing more of the same thing over again. And after returning home from war, Krebs no longer has anyone to relate to like before. He can’t even relate with the other soldiers, since his and their experience in war were so different. Krebs then starts to lie to gain more attention from the townspeople. It is quoted in the story “Krebs found that to be listened to at all he had to lie” (166). When lying to get attention doesn’t work, Krebs starts to withdrawal from society. Krebs loses the ability to try and connect to people. He enjoys watching the local town girls but has no interest in trying to go talk or date one. He even states to his mother, that he can no longer pray. No longer even able to connect with god. At the end of ‘Soldier’s Home’, we see that Harold Krebs can no longer lie to himself going back to the life he had before he went off to war. The war has changed his life, and he is no longer the Krebs from before. He plans to get a job in Kansas City, as a way to escape from this small-town that he no longer knows
The themes of “Soldier’s Home” not only go to explain the hardships the Harold Krebs went through, while trying to readjust to the small town that he use to know.
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