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 better. He did not want to leave Germany. He did not want to come home. ” (Hemingway 189) Arriving home years after the war was over, he constantly feels out of place and alone. He reminisces on his pre-war life; he was not allowed to take the car out, only little girls had their hair cut short, and the young girls had matured into women. Krebs comes to the unexpected epiphany that the town has not changed as much as he has.
Hemingway uses the war era to develop the setting of the story, which helps us understand how life was then. People such as Krebs were summoned to fight a war, commanding them to kill thousands of people in the name of their country, and then return home with that idea that everything is still the same.
The setting is affected with the story starting a few years after the war has already been fought, because the reader comes to realize that Krebs’s late coming home is not acknowledged by the townspeople because for them, it is post-war. His town had heard too many atrocity stories to be thrilled by actualities. Krebs found that to be listened to at all he had to lie” (Hemingway 187) Krebs’s misplacement in the post-war setting is portrayed in the fact that he cannot talk about to anyone, even though he desperately wants people to know how the war had affected his life. Krebs continues to live in the war era, which resorts to him lying about his war stories; his only option to be heard. 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 Hemingway portrays the hometown to be the “home” when really it is the war front; Germany, which is the home of the Soldier. The setting brings for the epiphany of Krebs post-war life and how it is affected by his desire of the war era.