Literary Analysis

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Soldiers Home - Literary Analysis
A soldier returning home from war should be a time of celebration and relief. However, not all soldiers feel like they can, or even want to come home again. In his story, Soldiers Home, Ernest Hemingway tells us the tale of a young soldier, Howard Krebs, who reluctantly returns home from World War I. On the surface, Krebs appears to be suffering from the results of a traumatic war time experience. However, this experience is not caused from something attributed to his time on the battlefield. Krebs struggles to stay true to himself and maintain his integrity, while trying to fit in again amongst the townspeople, as well as foster any type of romantic relationship. I believe war changed Krebs by showing him a new world beyond his small mid-western home town.
Upon his return home, Krebs finds that the townspeople are not interested in hearing his stories about the war, but instead, “Krebs found that to be listened to at all he had to lie” (1). For Krebs, lying led him to start rejecting his experience in war as being meaningful. “A distaste for everything that had happened to him in the war set in because of the lies he had told” (1). This indicates that Krebs feels he did something worthwhile and meaningful in the war. Krebs goes on to refer to this as “the one thing, the only thing for a man to do, easily and naturally” (1). Hemingway never tells what that one thing was. However, due to all the lying, the “one thing,” that kept Krebs going through the war was no longer something that held any integrity for him. Many years ago I went through a very traumatic experience in my life similar to Krebs. The more I tried to forget what happen the more I became isolated and withdrawn from life and ...

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...shows that Krebs is longing for what he once had, but struggles to find it again back home.
In the story not only does Krebs struggle with his longing for a romantic relationship, but he also struggles to maintain his integrity and hold on to what good he can remember from his time in the war. Hemingway tells us “People seems to think it was rather ridiculous for Krebs to be getting back so late, years after the war was over” (1). Krebs even states “He did not want to come home” (1). With these statements, Hemingway shows that the war changed Krebs from the young man he was, in this small mid-western town where nothing changes, to a more critical and complicated individual. With that change he has developed a taste for the world and how he wants to live in it.

Works Cited

Hemingway, Ernest. “Soldier’s Home.” In Our Time. New York: Scribner, 1925. 67-77. Print.
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