Soldiers home ernest hemingway essay

Free Essay: Theme Hemingway's “Soldier's Home” As a young man coming back Ernest Hemingway's “Soldier's Home” also discusses the negative mental.
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Readers must draw their own conclusion as to Krebs's future, because Hemingway leaves the door open to speculation. Harold Krebs is a young man who has recently returned from his service with the U.

Soldier's home, Hemingway

Marines during World War I. His home is in a small town in Oklahoma. The story opens with the description of two photographs: in the first, Krebs is pictured with his fraternity brothers at the Methodist college he attended before the war. He is dressed exactly like the other young men and seems to have a place among them. In the second photograph, he is pictured with another soldier and some German girls immediately after the war in Europe.

He is pictured here as being too big for his uniform, suggesting that he does not fit comfortably into either his uniform or his life. Now, with his return to Oklahoma, he seems to belong nowhere. Krebs did not receive a hero's welcome on his return because he arrived after the other veterans. While the text of the story stipulates that Krebs arrived "years" after the other soldiers, this description could be ironic, since it is a historical fact that the Marine Corps unit of which Krebs was a part came back to the United States in , just one year after the end of the war.

In the month since his return, Krebs has done little more than sleep, play pool, and sit on his front porch watching girls. He has little interest in anything else, and appears completely disengaged from his family, save for his younger sister Helen, with whom he seems to have a loving relationship. Krebs's relationship with his mother is particularly problematic. When she begins to nag him about deciding what he wants to do with his life, Krebs tells her that he does not love her.

A Soldier's Home Setting Analysis free essay sample - New York Essays

The remark seems to devastate Mrs. Krebs, and Krebs quickly tries to make up for it. Others, such as Kenneth Lynn in his book Hemingway, assert that Krebs is an autobiographical character and that his relationship with his mother stems from Hemingway's own troubled relationship with his mother. Still others, such as Thomas Putman, see in Krebs a representative of the returned war victim, unable to reconnect with his family.

Hemingway's understated characterization makes each of these interpretations a possibility. Helen Krebs is Harold Krebs's younger sister. She plays "indoor," the term used for women's baseball. Her role in the story is as a foil to Mrs.

"Soldier's Home" Revisited: A Hemingway Mea Culpa

Helen adores her brother, and sees him as a hero. She demands no explanations nor stories. Krebs is able to be honest with her, and she with him. Although she appears only briefly in the story, she is also a contrast to all of the girls that Krebs watches from the front porch. She is unlike the girls who demand talk and who present consequences. Finally, Helen Krebs is the only character in the story with whom Harold Krebs seems to have a loving relationship.

There is a slight hint that the relationship is unseemly; Helen calls Harold her "beau" and Harold does not object. On the other hand, the exchange seems nonetheless innocent. In the last line of the story, Krebs decides that he will go to the school to watch Helen play indoor baseball.

This tenuous thread of connection with another member of his family offers hope that Krebs will one day truly find his way home.

Soldier's Home

An important character in this story paradoxically never appears. Harold Krebs's father does not step into the story at any time except through messages that are conveyed through Mrs.


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A telling phrase, "Mr. Krebs was noncommittal," describes the elder Krebs's absence from the story. There is the sense that Harold is merely following in his father's footsteps, absenting himself from all conflict, discussion, and commitment. When Mr. Krebs sends word through Mrs. Krebs that Harold should come and see him, Harold ignores the request. He appears to hold his father in disdain for his inability to stand up to his wife. Oddly, it is in his absence that Mr. Krebs reveals the most about the dysfunction of this family.

From the text of the story, it would be possible to arrive at two very different understandings of Mr. On the one hand, the fact that he only sends messages through his wife, including one that orders Krebs to visit his father's office, could suggest that he is a tyrannical figure who sees himself above the other members of his family.

Like a general, he sends his orders through his underlings. On the other hand—and this is the more widely accepted interpretation of Mr. Krebs—he is seen as a weak character, dominated by his wife. Krebs's disdain for his father and his disregard for his father's orders seem to support this interpretation.

In addition, critics who read this story as autobiographical point to Mr. Hemingway as models for Mr. By all accounts, Hemingway found his mother to be controlling and the dominant partner of the marriage. While relying too heavily on biographical detail to build an interpretation of a story can produce readings that are not in concert with the story, it is nevertheless interesting to speculate how much Hemingway's mother influenced her son's portrait of this marriage.

Krebs is Harold's mother. She is a pious woman who appears to rule her household. She uses her husband's absence to manipulate those around her by phrasing her requests as messages from Mr. Krebs seems unable to accept the fact that Krebs has changed, and that he is no longer her little boy. Often, she goes into Krebs's room while he is lying in bed and sits on the bed talking to him.

Ernest Hemingway's "Soldier's Home”

Her conversation usually centers around what other young men in the town are doing with their lives, and the implication is that Krebs must decide quickly what he is going to do. She often asks Krebs about the War, but fails to listen to his responses. It is as if she does not want to hear anything unpleasant, or anything that might suggest that the War has somehow changed Krebs.

A change in Krebs might suggest that he is no longer her little boy, and that she might not have control of him any longer. Krebs precipitates the climactic scene in the book at the breakfast table when she confronts Krebs about getting a job.

Essay on “Soldier’s Home” by Hemingway

When she asks: "Don't you love your mother, dear boy? This brings his mother to tears. She tells him that when he was a baby, she held him next to her heart. This image nauseates Krebs. It is difficult to determine whether the nausea is caused by the lies he tells his mother to keep her from crying, or if the image of being held to her breast is deeply disturbing to Krebs.

In any event, with her tears, Mrs.

go site Krebs succeeds in reducing Krebs to a childlike version of himself: "I know, Mummy," he says, "I'll try and be a good boy for you. Krebs who holds the power in the family. In this very brief story, there is one additional character who never makes it into the text except for one very brief mention.

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Krebs has two sisters. Helen has dialogue and Krebs reports that she is his favorite sister. The second sister is never named nor does the story provide any text to describe her. While it might at first glance seem an unimportant detail, her absence from the story serves to emphasize the alienation Krebs feels from his family.