Ernest Hemingway's "Soldier's Home".

Essay by ofpaCollege, UndergraduateA+, May 2003

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A person's return from war is always a frustrating experience. Facing the normalcy of everyday life while the memories of the gruesome struggles still rage inside a person's mind can wreak emotional havoc on a person's well being. The situation becomes much more dire when the environment he is coming home to tries to push him towards the routine of day-to-day living without letting him adjust gradually. This situation is all too real in Ernest Hemingway's "Soldier's Home" (World). The main character of the story, Harold Krebs, has just returned home from a two-year stint in war-torn Germany. Through his brief tale of life, back at home in Oklahoma, one can clearly see a man struggling to find his place in a difficult world. His family, like so many others, tries to help him get on with life without dealing with what he has just gone through. His town seems to be a completely different place to Harold, although it seems to be the ex-soldier himself who has changed so much.

Perhaps the most difficult hurdle to cross is the fact that there is no one Harold can comfortably share his feelings with; without that, his growth as a person will be limited severely. Because of the pressures exerted upon this character, both externally and those self inflicted, the struggle to return to normalcy can be just as difficult as the threats faced in wartime (Time 68-77).

When Harold arrives back home, there is no fanfare to greet him, no cheering crowds or tickertape parade to welcome home another soldier. In fact, "By the time Krebs returned to his home town in Oklahoma the greeting of heroes was over (Time 69)." It seems as though the world had already pushed the hell that was World War I out...