Soldiers Home Setting Essay

In "Soldier's Home," Ernest Hemingway makes use of a small-town setting to provide his readers with insight into the troubled, young mind of Harold Krebs. Harold Krebs struggles to adjust to life in Hemingway's lifeless Oklahoma town shortly after his late return from combat in World War I. Hemingway's social environment in "Soldier's Home" contributes to its family-based, yet dull atmosphere, with which Krebs must attempt to cope. Hemingway utilizes many aspects of setting, constructively pairing place and time, along with the social environment present in "Soldier's Home," to develop a monotonous atmosphere that parallels Krebs' sentiment.

Hemmingway produces a place for the reader: an Oklahoma town during a 1920s boom to which Harold Krebs returns after serving his country in World War I, only to find that most everything is the same, with only few changes to its setting. Krebs finds Hemingway's world much too complicated underneath, for its simplicity on the surface; Krebs particularly notices the young girls of the town, mainly from the comfort of his home porch:

Nothing was changed in the town except that the young girls had grown up. But they lived in such a...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 899 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 7137 literature essays, 2000 sample college application essays, 296 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in

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 "433othing 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.

0 thoughts on “Soldiers Home Setting Essay”

    -->

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *