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Soldiers Home Setting Essay

A Soldier's Home Setting Analysis Essay examples

707 WordsOct 18th, 20123 Pages

Carrie Clifford
Mr. James
AP English 12/P7
9 October 2012
A Soldier’s Home: Setting Analysis In Ernest Hemingway’s short story “A Soldier’s Home”, Krebs, a soldier, returns to his hometown from fighting in World War I. As indicated throughout the story, “home” for Krebs is not unlike the war front: confusing, complicated, and restless. Hemingway uses the setting in Kansas, during World War I, to convey Krebs post-war life in comparison to his pre-war. The title “Soldiers Home” reveals the question; where is the soldier’s home? In the short story, Krebs frequently mentions being over in Germany and France, expressing that he was more fond of these places than his little hometown in Kansas. “On the whole he had liked Germany…show more content…

Krebs soon comes to isolate himself and oppose discussing his war experience and the influence it had on him. For Krebs, living in a town that has moved past the war, was his reason to reminisce on his war experiences and the women who would walk the streets in Germany and France. After spending two years in World War I, adapting to the real world was asking Krebs to let go of everything that has shaped him since he has been gone. “He sat there on the porch reading a book on the war. It was a history and he was reading about all the engagements he had been in. It was the most interesting reading he had ever done.” Even after arriving home, attempting to adapt to the fact that the war was over, he studied war events he was part of; routes and war sites he had taken and fought at. The summer of 1919 is a difficult time for Krebs to accept because although the town has moved on from the war, he wishes to hold on to what he believes, is still the present. Hemingway uses the setting to bring the reader a clear understanding that war was a strong impact on soldiers who had been participants of it. The setting reveals the big picture; nothing is over until’ you let it go. Hemingway portrays the soldier’s hometown to be very similar to the war, in the perspective that his hometown is very confusing, complicated, and restless. The title “A Soldier’s Home” brings irony to the setting in the sense that

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Ernest Hemingway's double entendre in his title is a key to the significance of the setting. For, a soldiers' home is a veteran's hospital where old soldiers just sit and wait to die. And, of course, "soldier's home" also means "the soldier is home." 

And, for Krebs to be home is much like the old soldiers' home: a setting of stoic holding on against his despair.  For,

A distaste for everything that had happened to him in the war set...

Ernest Hemingway's double entendre in his title is a key to the significance of the setting. For, a soldiers' home is a veteran's hospital where old soldiers just sit and wait to die. And, of course, "soldier's home" also means "the soldier is home." 

And, for Krebs to be home is much like the old soldiers' home: a setting of stoic holding on against his despair.  For,

A distaste for everything that had happened to him in the war set in because of the lies he had told.  All of the times that had been able to make him feel cool and clear inside himself when he though of them; the times so long back when he had done the one thing, the only thing for a man to do, easily and naturally, when he might have done something else, now lost their cool, valuable quality and then were lost themselves.

At home, Krebs can no longer relate to his family or be truthful with them. While "10othing was changed in the town except that the young girls had grown up," Krebs cannot return to what he was before the war; "he did not feel the energy or the courage to break into it."  He does not want to have a relationship with a girl because so much of a relationship is a lie or is "too complicated." Besides, the world that the girls are in is "not the world he was in."  Krebs "had been a good soldier," but he does not make a good civilian.  He feels alienated, and the little rituals of remembering often lead him to thinking about disturbing things that he has experienced as a soldier. 

Truly, as Thomas Wolfe wrote, Krebs "cannot go home again"; he cannot be the son who calls his mother "Mummy"; he must lie if he stays at his old home. So, because he wants order, "he wanted his life to go smoothly," Krebs decides to go to Kansas City and get a job where he can hold on against the odds.  "Soldier's Home" is too confining, with either meaning.

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