Soldiers Home

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“Soldier’s Home”

In Ernest Hemingway’s short story, “Soldier’s Home”, a young man named Krebs is unable to relate to his mother and home life after he returned from the First World War. After Krebs saw death and destruction in the wars most bloody battles, he returns home where his parents try to get him back to his normal routines. His view of the world has changed drastically since the war. He no longer feels love in his heart and cannot lie to his mother when she asks if he loves her. One of the famous lines Hemingway wrote, “Krebs looked at the bacon fat hardening on his plate.” Like bacon his heart has been hardened by what he had seen in World War I and he knew he must get far away from his parents to be able to get his life back in order.

Harold Krebs after graduating from a Methodist college in Kansas enlisted in the Marines in 1917 and did not return to the United States until 1919. While at war he saw many tragedies that changed his life forever. When he returns home he does not get a heroes welcome because many had returned before him. At first Krebs did not want to talk about the war but later on when he felt the need no one would listen. He spent his days reading, walking and admiring the girls but a lot had changed since he had been gone. He thought about going out with some of the girls he used to know and remembers the girls he knew overseas but finds, “the young girls had grown up. But they lived in such a complicated world with already defined alliances and shifting feuds that Krebs did not feel the energy or courage to break in it.” Krebs has a hard time relating to his parents and he finds himself not wanting to go watch his sister play ball.

The climax to the story is when Krebs's mother asks, "Don't you love your mother, dear boy?" and he answers, "No”. Even though he had been feeling unhappy, useless, and out of place since he had returned from the war, he had been drifting along, going through the motions.  He had been...
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