Emotional Detachment in "Soldier's Home" Essay

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A photo of Krebs during World War I shows him with a corporal and two German girls on the Rhine River. One's first thought of this picture may be of a lighthearted sightseeing trip on leave from the front. However, in the photograph, Krebs and the other corporal are described as "too big for their uniforms," the German girls as "not beautiful," and the Rhine does not even appear in the photograph (154). This is how Ernest Hemingway begins "Soldier's Home," the story of a young war veteran named Harold Krebs who has recently returned home. Everything that Krebs says and does is to make his life as smooth and have as few complications as possible, more than likely a stark contrast to his life in Europe. Krebs is a detached being who…show more content…
He would like to have a girl, but doesn't want to go through the trouble of getting one. He feels that he would need to lie to get one, and he doesn't want to lie anymore. He preferred the girls abroad, where the language barrier took the politics and courting out of the picture, making things as simple as possible. Krebs lives a simple life in a simple town, and he wants to keep it that way. The war was complicated enough, and now Krebs just wants to live without complications, commitments, or consequences. "He did not want any consequences ever again. He wanted to live alone without consequences" (155). Although this wish seems simple enough, breakfast at the Krebs' family table will prove otherwise. Krebs' sister starts a conversation about indoor baseball that quickly becomes a conversation about whether or not Krebs really loves his sister. We first see Krebs' emotional detachment in his replies to her eager questions about love between his sister and himself--"you bet," "I don't know," "sure," "uh huh," and "maybe" (157). During breakfast, his mother also mentions that she would like him to start working and find a nice girl, and his father is willing to let him take out the family car to do so, but these actions would only complicate his lifestyle. Krebs can hardly pay any attention at the breakfast table as his mother talks about how much she has worried about him and prayed for him. He even
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