Conflicts in “Soldier`s Home”
Conflictsin “Soldier’s Home”
“Soldier’sHome” is a narration of a combatant who goes back home after theWorld War I as a different person. It describes the difficulties thatKrebs goes through as he tries to fit into the society. In addition,Krebs lives at does not feel comfortable to be there. Moreover, hestays with his family although does not perceive as if he belongs tothe setting. However, just like many other authors, Hemingway usesnarration and dialogue to depict his life since he returned from warusing the traits of Halord Krebs. It is a depiction that despite themany advices given by his mother, nothing would change about what hebelieves. In fact, Krebs believes in talking the truth but the peoplesurrounding him force him to speak lies. The paper seeks to revealthe conflict between Krebs’ values and those of society. It will beclear that “he had tried so to keep his life from beingcomplicated…. still, none of it had touched him” (Hemingway 7).The disagreement was caused by the expectations of the society forhim to adapt to traditional norms. However, he does not conform inthat he chooses isolation, which means distancing himself from love,religion, and relations with the community.
Firstof all, Ernest Hemingway depicts his personal life and difficultieshe had gone through since he returned home from World War I usingHalord Krebs’ character. He explores his emotions and experiencesin the narration, which describe the homecoming perceptions andcomprehension of the problems of the returning soldier. Furthermore,Krebs’ mother wants him to find a job and get married just like anyother man does in the society. She even uses an analogy of othersoldiers who have returned from battle in an attempt to change hisson`s mindset. Additionally, to some extent, Krebs’ mother says"Charley Simmons, who is just your age, has a good job and isgoing to be married" (Hemingway 5). In this case, the motherwants to reveal to Krebs that his age mates are settling and startingfamilies. In fact, they are all purposed to get somewhere. Besides,she goes ahead to depict that Charley Simmons is on his way to beinga credit to the society. However, after his mother tells him allthese words, Krebs says nothing to his mother. Therefore, theconflict is evident in their conversation because he is unwilling toconform to what his community does with regards to family matters.
Moreover,it seems that there is a conflict with regards to what the societyperceives of a man and what Krebs believes. In that case, his societyholds that a man needs a woman to be complete. However, Krebs isclear on his stand that every man has a right to choose what he wantsin life because all are created differently. On his part, Hemingwaystates that Krebs had always wanted his life to be withoutchallenges. Therefore, this is why he always wanted to distancehimself from complications and consequences. The fact is that Krebshad learned much from the army. Hemingway indicates that, “besideshe did not really need a girl…the army had taught him that”(Hemingway 2). Krebs describes that there are different types ofpeople in the army. He goes ahead and gives a final account to womenby saying that a man only needs a girl when he sits back and mediatesabout them. Otherwise, he can live without one. Therefore, hisargument is a clear indication that he holds conflicting views withthe community with regards to women.
Furthermore,it is clear that the conflict in this story is about the delineationof who Krebs has changed to be in society after the war. At somepoint, he accepts that he has transformed and that it has happened atthe expense of the society where nothing else has been altered apartfrom girls growing up. In fact, he believes in telling the truth fromhis early childhood days. Essentially, lying always makes Krebs havea feeling of being lost within himself and if he encounters himselfin such a dilemma, he always experiences nausea. However, the societyforces him to lie about military experiences for him to be listened.It can be seen from his mother’s words that, “I’ve worriedabout you too much, Harold… I know the temptations you must havebeen exposed to. I know how weak men are” (Hemingway 5). It is sosince this community has heard too many stories related toatrocities. It looks like the society is more interested in warfantasies rather than hearing the truth.
Inconclusion, throughout the story, the conflict has been between Krebsvalues and the society’s expectations towards him. The communitysupposes him to conform to its ways and eventually become productive.Therefore, the conflict is not resolved as portrayed by Hemingway.Krebs does not change to the ways of the society, and this makes himmigrate to Kansas town where no one forces him to conform to theways. At the area, he intends to look for a job and escape from thesociety that he does not believe.
Hemingway,Ernest. “Soldier’s Home,” 1925. Retrieved fromhttp://chsenglishmrsb.weebly.com/uploads/5/7/5/8/57587283/soldiers_home.pdf
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