The Soldier with Doubts At first glance, the short story, ?Soldier?s Home,? appears to be a tribute to a young man from a small town, returning home after the war. The first paragraphs describe the young man, Harold Krebs and his boyhood home in rural Oklahoma. Almost immediately, the conflicts begin to surface. The overwhelming irony in Hemingway?s tale is illustrated in the title ?Soldier?s Home? because Krebs?s does not feel like a soldier and he no longer has a home at all.
Krebs?s had doubts about being a soldier from the start of the story. He enlisted in the Marines shortly after leaving college and, no doubt, was filled with enthusiasm and patriotism. However, his wartime experiences were not what he expected. Although he traveled extensively throughout Europe, he felt his military performance did not constitute the necessary heroism of an American soldier. He found it necessary to lie about his experiences in order to command the attention and respect he craved.
However, his stories were tired and uninspired and were basically ignored. Although no specific dishonorable behavior is noted by Hemingway, the impression given is that Krebs felt like a fraud, to the extent of feeling nausea when at a dance, he met a man who had ?really been a soldier? (153).
Krebs's personality and values had been drastically changed by his experiences in the war. Before he left Oklahoma, he fit comfortably in his conservative, middle-class life. The picture of Krebs and his fraternity brothers at the Methodist 2 College he attended, accented the sameness of the young men with, as Hemingway says, "all of them wearing exactly the same height and style collar" (152). The need to identify with his peers was important to Krebs, but when he returned home, he no longer had...