Symbolism In Soldier's Home

1479 Words 6 Pages
“Soldier’s Home”
Soldier's Home by Ernest Hemingway paints the picture of a very small town where people are more interested in fables compared to reality. The titular home in "Soldier's Home" is not a post-war veteran home, but rather, the childhood home of Harold Krebs, a Marine officer. The author portrays a world widely divided in two sects of people: the ones who have been to war, and the ones who have not. The ones who went to war struggle to find meaning in the things they once enjoyed, and are hard pressed to feel accepted back into society. Slowly, it leads to isolation and depression, and can steal away inner clarity from people. From what I can see, World War 1 was a time when people were either trying their best to go about with
…show more content…
In this backdrop, we can see the contrast in how people who stayed back and veterans perceive the world. The only people Krebs was a 'hero' to were his little sisters. His mother tried to feign interest in the war, but her attention doesn't hold. For her, the war is something that is done and over with, and Krebs should instead focus on the present and think of the future. She implores him to start going out more, meeting people, looking for girls and trying to get a job; the things a regular person was doing at that time Try as he might, the ex-soldier could not revert back to his pre-war self. He does not do anything constructive, instead spending his days inside his house and whiling away the time. This is again due to how people reacted to his homecoming, making him feel that the only way to fit in would be to lie; about the war, and about himself. To make matters worse, his mother, not realizing the reason why her son was behaving the way he was, tries to put him on a more constructive path by asking him to attend church with her. Instead, he lashes out at her saying that he does not love her, simply because he can no longer believe in love after experiencing the savagery of war. His mother's reaction to these words again puts him in a tough spot. When she would not be consoled, he lies to her that he did not mean what he said. The author …show more content…
Krebs' mothers' exact words were " But you are going to have to settle down to work, Harold. Your father doesn't care what you start in at. All work is honorable as he says. But you've got to make a start at something". Despite her good intentions, this again shows that she does not understand the veterans' thoughts at all, simply because she was not exposed to the same horrors. All Krebs' parents’ want is for him to 'act like a normal person'. This again reinforces our assertion about the vast differences in the viewpoint of the 2 sects of people. Instead of actually sitting down and listening to her son's truth, Krebs mother tried to force him to adapt to her viewpoints. This can also be seen when she tries to manipulate him by saying "I'm your mother," she said. "I held you next to my heart when you were a tiny baby." Again, instead of trying to even guess what her son feels like, she disregards his emotional trouble and attributes it to simple laziness. It is this moment when Krebs decides that he will no longer be able to stay in Oklahoma; the expectation of society that he can fall back into a regular routing like the war never happened was not something that he could accept at his

Related Documents