Harold Krebs and Norman Bowker

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War is a terrible thing. It destroys lives and can forever change the landscape of the mind and soul. Harold Krebs from Ernest Hemingway’s story “Soldier’s Home” and Norman Bowker from Tim O’Brian’s story “Speaking of Courage” both show that coming home from a military lifestyle and reintegrating themselves into a civilian lifestyle can be both difficult and emotionally draining to one’s self esteem and psyche.

Harold Krebs wants the simple life. He’s tired of the lying and the feeling he gets from having to lie to friends and family about the war and about everyday things just to get them to back off. His mother and father both want him to become like the other men that have returned from the war, that is, to get a job, find a nice girl and settle down. But Krebs doesn’t want that. He’s been too changed by the war.

His army training has seriously affected how he looks at girls. He doesn’t want to work at getting a girl having to go out and driving them around and talking to them. Hi wants a girl that doesn’t care about the war or wants him to tell them war stories. His sister, on the other hand, is the only person that thinks of him as a hero and still loves him, without provocation, without temptation, and without being cynical, even though, the war has changed him. This is shown when Krebs sister ask’s him to be her beau.

His sister asks him to be her beau: “ I tell them that you’re my beau. Aren’t you my beau, hare?” “You bet.”
“Couldn’t your brother really be your beau just because he’s your brother?” “I don’t know.”
“[…] Couldn’t you be my beau, hare, if I was old enough and if you wanted to?” “Sure, You’re my girl now.”(Hemingway 168)

Finally in the end, he realizes that coming home isn’t right for him in the aspect that the town has not changed except for the girls who are now all grown up. His father still drives the same car and works at the same job and lives in the same childhood home that...
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