10 February 2015
Soldier’s Home: Krebs Detached World after War
America has the freedom it does because of determined soldiers who sacrificed their lives at war to protect the land of the free. Ernest Hemingway takes the opportunity to write a short story about a young war veteran returning home. Hemingway begins "Soldier's Home," by introducing us to Harold Krebs, a young war veteran who just recently returned home. Before
Krebs enlisted in the marines, he attended college, joined a fraternity, and then eventually came home after World War I, only to find the celebration and the hype long gone. Although,
Hemingway does not exactly say why Krebs was the last person to return home, he made is obvious that Krebs is now distraught and traumatized by what took place in Europe. As a soldier, it is his job to provide Americans freedom, but when he returns home he does not feel free at all.
He is trapped in this complicated world and no one seems to understand, and no one ever will. If the war did not change Krebs, he would have had the normal life that most young men have and his purpose in life would be much more significant. Home no longer feels like home and the people in his life are simply World War I depleted Krebs of his energy and motivation to live the life his parents sought out for him and because of that, he is detached from everything that used to matter.
Home is a place where one should feel safe and secure. Ever since Krebs returned home from war, he feels removed from his surroundings. When he returns to his parents home town, he
feels isolated. Soldiers continue to fight for our country each and every day, hoping to stay alive and make it home to their family but when they finally do, they are not always their true self.
The shocking and truly terrible experiences of the first
War had abandoned those he had cared about , including his family , who did not know what Krebs was truly facing. Krebs seems to be dealing with internal conflicts and the only people who can understand him are those who dealt with the pain and suffering he did.
Krebs did not have a proper welcome home celebration. This must have also triggered his brain into thinking he is not important. Krebs might feel more at home if other people from town, besides his family were excited to see him. The men who arrived straight from war were already celebrated and the hype was long gone. “The men from the town who had been drafted had all been welcomed elaborately on their return. There had been a great deal of hysteria. Now the reaction had set in. People seemed to think it was rather ridiculous for Krebs to be getting back so late, years after the war was over” (166). Krebs has changed and he begins to realize that life back home has not. “Nothing was changed in the town except that the young girls has grown up”
(167). Krebs seems unable and unwilling to adjust to a normal life. He has no interest in speaking to girls but he will admire from afar. A woman in his life would distract him from the memories World War I has embedded in his brain. Also, it would be the start to a life his family always wanted for him. Hemingway has made it clear that Krebs is convinced he does not need a woman, nor does he want his life complicated.
Soldiers often return home from war with illnesses like PTSD. We do not know if Krebs is officially diagnosed with this illness, but it is safe to say his life has altered since then. Prior to attending war, Hemingway mentions a few details in the beginning of his short story that say a lot about the person Krebs used to be. He attended a Methodist college in Kansas where he
joined a fraternity. This one sentence suggest he had better plans for his future, he was an outgoing young man who was able to join a fraternity and call