"Soldier’s Home” tells us about Krebs. He came home from war. But was it
really his home? Nobody cared about war. May be not about war itself, but about
those who had come from it.
In his native town Krebs understood that nothing had changed:
the same people, the same life. He had experienced much, had lived another
life. Yes, there, on the war, the world had been foreigner, but close. And Krebs
liked that world more than this native one. The soldier didn’t want to come
back, but he had to.
So Krebs is here, and what’s happening? He begins to live
automatically. All his days are the same. He doesn’t see any aims in his life. And
Krebs always recollects his life on the war.
I think the problem is that Krebs wanted to create his own
home in his native city, but this very city and people in it have ruined the
soldier’s dreams. May be the best place to create this home was there, in a
foreign, but such a close world.
This story doesn’t
deal with Nick Adams but Hemingway’s style is quite recognizable. A lot of
details that he considers necessary are present. But the language still remains
laconic. For example: "There is a picture which shows him on the Rhine with two German girls and another corporal. Krebs
and the corporal look too big for their uniforms. The German girls are not
beautiful. The Rhine doesn’t show in the
picture”. This is a kind of an emotional background to the whole story. Later
on explanations will be given.
This story deals
with the consequences of war. But not those ones we all know about. Harold
Krebs (the main character) has to lie only to be listened to. His emotional
devastation demands understanding, attention and even care. That’s why Harold
is so angry with his mother when she tries to impose something on him. To work.
Obviously, one must work. But Harold doesn’t want to. Or, perhaps, he can’t
make himself do it. ‘He had tried so to keep his life from being complicated”,
"he wanted his life to go smoothy”. Well, it’s a natural desire. And the
character isn’t a negative one. He feels sorry for having offended his mother.
sometimes there are such periods in one’s life when one may behave like Harold.
The idea of the
story?! I tend to think, the idea is that the ending of war is not the
beginning of a happy life. Some young people return home, being devastated,
depressed and sometimes can’t cope with it.
The short story "Soldier’s Home” by
Hemingway is about a young man who came back from the war. He had never
expected that nothing was changed in the town except that the young girls had
grown up after the war. We couldn’t see the great damaging effect that the war
has on people’s life. The main question in this story is "Where is this
soldier’s home?” And even the main character couldn’t answer this question. He
was watching the girls that were walking along the street. He was watching many
people but he felt himself alone. He forgot how to live. The author tries to
show us how the main character changed and not only physically but also
morally. And it is difficult for him to return to normal, daily life.
What does a
soldier feel when he comes home from the war? An overwhelming
beatitude? Utter bliss? Relief and ease? Nothing is as simple as is
seems at the first sight.
returned home a soldier Krebs finds out that... that the life is what
it used to be: girls are the same, old ladies are the same, well, all
people are the same. But something has definitely changed. Something
subtle that has made Krebs unsuitable for this little town with its
peaceful being. And this SOMETHING is Krebs' inner self. Being on
the war he knew WHAT he fights for, WHY and HOW. You know, everything
is simple on the war – to kill or to be killed, a man has no other
way. And Krebs got used to this war. As it is often repeated in the
story, "he has learned it in the army”. But it turns out that he
has learned only how to SURVIVE and not to LIVE. Being successful on
the fight-field he can't find his way in the forest of people's
lives. He comprehends that everything is too complicated now and he's
got no desire to seize it. A man without his own place.
Is it the
end? Somehow... the only one way for Krebs is to learn how to be
another person – the one who knows what he wants from life, the one
who can understand people around him, the one who can survive in the
world where a man has to be able to do much more than just to squeeze
off. Will he cope with it?..