Soldier’s Home Analysis Ernest Hemingway
The short story Soldier’s Home by Ernest Hemingway is about a marine, Harold Krebs, who returns home from the Great War in 1919. He faces with what society has become, even though inside him, things have remained as they were during the war. The story shows us how Krebs’s experiences in war shaped him and his character.
Soldier’s Home Symbolism
Through the whole story, Hemingway uses symbolism in order to show that Krebs is suffering from the war. The protagonist goes to war as one man and returns home as a different harder man. Modern medicine diagnosis him a post-traumatic stress disorder, and Krebs proves it. Hemmingway tries to show it with slight details. For example, a situation with the bacon that Krebs stares at: he “looks at the bacon fat hardening on his plate” (Hemingway) while his mother is talking to him. Krebs does not only pay any attention to his mother, who is a symbol of the outside world but the bacon that symbolizes Krebs himself. His personality has hardened as much as the bacon fat. Another piece of symbolism is the overuse of Krebs’ last name. The full name of the protagonist is Harold Krebs. The author refers to him as Krebs, by his last name, instead of his first name, Harold. This is an important detail as it proves that Krebs still believes he is at war. In the military, people are called by their last names. By using Krebs, instead of Harold, Hemingway shows us that Krebs still identifies himself as a military man, and inside, he is still at war.
Which excerpt from “Soldier’s Home” is the best example of irony?
Hemmingway introduces the image of girls from Krebs’ hometown with a purpose to show the reader that Krebs is still suffering from the effects of the war. He sits on his porch, underneath the shade, staring at all the girls that walk by. Krebs feels as though “the young girls had grown up” (Hemingway). The girls that walk by all have different styles of clothes and all have different haircuts. Hemingway makes Krebs describe them in bright detail – they remind a pattern or like some sort of mosaic to look at. Krebs likes these girls, the way they walk, but he does not want to talk to them. He just wants to be with them and be quite. This is critically important because it shows that Krebs is unable to interact with the girls, with the people. Krebs is suffering because the war has taken from him his soul and his capability to talk to people. He doesn’t want to be social or make an attempt to talk to these girls, because the language barrier enables him to be with girls without talking to them. Even though, these girls were “much better than the French girls or the German girls” (Hemingway).
Hemingway uses such a plot in order to show the reader how a person can suffer from the effects of the war. In the story, Krebs is uninterested in anything that occurs around him. This is because he has become a simple man after the war and he tries to avoid complexity. The only thing that interests him is the book that talks about the war. It is the only thing that interests him because he can relate to it. Although “he wished there were more maps” (Hemingway). This shows us that the war has removed his familiarity and interest to life. And it becomes stronger as Krebs dives deeper into this book.
In conclusion, Krebs has suffered severely in the war. He came home, to a place that is as uninterested as he himself is uninterested in the world around. Krebs finds solace in a book that describes the war he participated in. He still identified as a marine and always will be a marine. Hemingway masterfully uses this to create a picture of the suffering that soldiers face after returning home.