Krebs vs Hemingway

Topics: Narrative, In Our Time, Narratology Pages: 2 (577 words) Published: June 3, 2012
While Ernest Hemingway's “A Soldier's Home” and Tim O’Brien’s “How to Tell a War Story” are both pieces focusing on war and the profound impact it has on the minds of soldiers that go through it, they both differ in many ways. The settings of the stories are dissimilar as “A Soldier’s Home” is set after the war, in a typical suburban environment in Oklahoma, where the protagonist grew up, while “How to Tell a True War Story” is set primarily in war-stricken areas in Vietnam with a few other instances set nowhere in particular, as thoughts are racing through the narrator’s mind. The plots of both works differ greatly, as in “A Soldier’s Home” Hemingway describes a young man coming home from the war only to find that he no longer can live his old life as he used to, where in “How to Tell a True War Story”, O’Brien explores the art of storytelling as it relates to war stories, regaling in stories he knows well, and what they mean to him and those who hear them. In Hemingway’s work, he utilizes a defined protagonist: Krebs, a man coming home from World War I to find that he feels imprisoned by his family home and values, previously a part of himself, where the antagonist is war personified, and the intense feelings it has spurred within him, creating this great conflict between his previous life and his new identity, or lack thereof. In O’Brien’s work, the protagonist is the war story, and the antagonist are the lies and complications that people who don’t tell true war stories use to embellish the truth, thereby getting further and further from it. In “A Soldier’s Home” the crisis and climax occur when Krebs makes his mother cry by stating that he does not love her or anybody else. A plethora of complications lead up to that moment, with Krebs growing more and more dissatisfied with his lifestyle and what his parents want for him. The more time he spends at home, the more he feels trapped and tension builds up within him. In “How to Tell a True War Story”, there is...
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