Ernest Hemmingway's "Soldier Home" and O'brien's "How to tell a true war story"

Satisfactory Essays
Chris Britz

Prof. Nunez

EN1102

3 March 2003

Patriotism in the Military

As a former president once said " And so, my fellow Americans ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country". Patriotism is found in every country, but it's the occupants of that country that have patriotism towards their own. This loyalty is seen in both "How to Tell a True War Story" and "Soldiers Home". Patriotism to me is one's natural right to show pride in being an American. Patriotism exists on different levels when taking into consideration people's perspective on war.

In comparing these two short stories the similarities were evident and stuck out like a sore thumb. The first similarity that I had encountered was that both stories gave the impression that previous to war the main characters had an enormous sense of patriotism. This is why they went to join the military. They wanted to fight for their country, and if they were willing to die for it Krebs, the main character in "Soldiers Home", had a nationalistic view before the World War I, and he believed that Americans should fight to save the freedoms of the United States. In "How to Tell a True War Story" the main character is portrayed as a person who had a lot of loyalty to America prior the Vietnam War because he has the emotion of a true patriot. Another similarity between these two stories is that the main characters were changed by the sight and horrific events of war. For example, Krebs could not even pray with his mother at the end of the story because he has lost faith in God. These events, such as, watching someone get their head blown off, or catching sight of one of your friends lungs turn into liquid because of mustard gas, changed their perception of war. This would definitely change my view of patriotism for one's country. Also, the narrator in "How to Tell a True War Story" points out that no one wants to listen to the real truth. This is emphasized because no one wants to hear

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