Existentialism in Soldier’s Home by Ernest Hemingway

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The saying “Existence precedes essence” is the slogan of existentialism. This element of existentialism is displayed throughout the short story “Soldier’s Home” by Ernest Hemingway. Of the different elements of existentialism, existence precedes essence is most evident in “Soldier’s Home”. Harold Krebs was a soldier in World War 1 who got back afew months later than the rest of the men from his town. He was forced to tell lies about his war experiences in order to get along and fit in with the people in his town. “His lies were quite unimportant lies and consisted in attributing to himself things other men had seen, done or heard of, and stating as facts certain apocryphal incidents familiar to all soldiers” (Hemingway 654). Even though the lies did not really matter in the overall scheme of things, the lies impacted Krebs. The lies Krebs made changed him and devalued his actual war experiences. Krebs was aware that if he continues to lie he would no longer be true to himself. “In ‘Soldier’s Home,’ Hemingway uses conflict to show how society demands conformity and the unfair struggl...

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