CCCC ENG 112 - Literary Analysis of A “Soldiers Home” By Earnest Hemingway

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Rose 1Lindsey RoseK. OvercashENG-112-PO16 April 2022Literary Analysis of A “Soldiers Home” By Earnest HemingwayA “soldiers home” by Earnest Hemingway is a post war themed short story depicting the after effects of war on society, showing symbolism of societies opinion of post war soldiers. Thisshort story depicts the impact of war on society and the lack of understanding that civilians have towards soldier’s inability to successfully integrate back into everyday life. Although there was adraft for this war, Krebs enlisted into the marines, and the opposition may feel that because he inflicted war onto himself he should not have any sympathy of the after effects. Though he did enlist, his sense of patriotism for his country compelled him to fight; the effects of combat weren’t widely spoken of, therefore Krebs was unaware of the negative effects of being a soldier.Krebs post traumatic stress disorder effects of war represents the impact of war on society, and his mother's inability to understand his issues symbolizes how society was very close minded with regards to post war veterans. A “Soldiers home” depicts a theme of societies lack of empathy for veterans, leaving them required to attempt to conform to “normal” way of living. “The war was over.” (Hemingway) “people seemed to think it was rather ridiculous for Krebs to be getting back so late”. (Hemingway) This passage represents the negative connotation the town has towards him and other returning veterans. Krebs late arrival home left him without any welcoming parties or celebration from his town. The towns distaste for war was apparent in Krebs social interactions. Because the town had already heard many horrific stories about the war, the theme of conformityRose 2was read when Krebs had to lie and fake his social exchanges with his family and the townspeople, so much so that he too grew a distaste for war. “Krebs found that to be listened to at all he had to lie, and after he had done this twice he, too, had a reaction against the war and against talking about it” (Hemingway). “A distaste for everything that had happened to him in the War set in because of the lies he had told” (Hemingway). His attempt to conform to everydaysociety left him feeling even less of a sense of belonging, and unable to properly express himself.Krebs was unable to be himself, this requirement to conform left him as an outcast, looking at the townspeople from afar. Symbolism was shown by Hemingway through Krebs mother and father. Krebs parents could symbolize the opinion of society regarding veterans. “You know we love you and I want totell you for your own good how matters stand. Your father does not want to hamper your freedom. He thinks you should be allowed to drive the car. If you want to take some of the nice girls out riding with you, we are only too pleased. We want you to enjoy yourself. 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. He asked me to speak to you this morning and then you can stop in and sec him at his office.” (Hemingway). Krebs mother and his father’s inability to comprehend his feelings or lack thereof, was relevant to society's view and unempathetic stance to soldiers returning from combat. Krebs numbness and inability to cope with his experience of war, left him stranded in a society that expected him to jump right back into their way of life. Krebs reading a history book of the war he fought in is another symbol in this short story. His inability to conform to society left him an outsider, and the book represented his “home”. It was ironic that Krebs felt ease and a sense of belonging when reading about the war while sitting on his front porch looking at the town from afar.Rose 3Overall Hemingway was exceptional at using symbolism to help further the post war mentality inthis short story.After reading this short story, the theme of societies opinion towards veterans and their requirement of conformity was depicted. Little empathy was shown to Krebs from the townspeople or his family. Though there wasn’t a strong stance against war, the overall current was apparent through Hemingway’s powerful ability to use symbolism to represent the view of society through Krebs interactions with his parents. Their lack of understanding for potential mental problems from his traumatic experiences, left him feeling as if he were alone in a foreign world. Narrating Krebs feelings gave insight on the internal struggles of returning combat veterans of that era, making the reader have more empathy towards him. His inability to conformwas interpreted through his avoidance of social interactions and blatant lies to avoid conflict. Hisfascination of reading the history of the war, proved his lack of sense of belonging in his hometown, and more so reliving the

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CCCC ENG 112 - Literary Analysis of A “Soldiers Home” By Earnest Hemingway

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