“Soldier’s Home” is a notable story in the collection ‘In Our Time’ by Ernest Hemingway which is of course a great collection of stories. In ‘“Soldier’s Home”’ Hemingway portrays a slightly distinctive sense of life and its purpose like no other author can seem to demonstrate skillfully. The notable fact is that story appears too ironic in its title and the way of portrayal, like most of Hemingway’s stories. “Soldier’s Home” can be considered as a skillfully written story that speaks about blending in with the surroundings and being left behind, in a logical sense. Hemingway's stories usually have ironic title names, and can be understood on various levels; “Soldier's Home” is no exception. On reading the title story for the first time the reader may think that the story might be about an old retired soldier who is determined to live out the rest of his life in some establishments where old and retired citizens go to die ,but as the story unfolds further the reader soon discovers that the story is not at all associated with any old people, or institutions; but, the story is all about a young soldier, Harold Krebs, who recently came back from World War I, and has moved back into his childhood home while he shape his thoughts about his future life plans. Anyhow as the reader continues his thoughts about the title; a fact unfolds- that his old parents' contented, middle-class way of life was liked by Harold Krebs before, but it no longer appealed to him after his return.
We can see that Harold Krebs is not home and that he does not feel like being in home anymore. Hemingway does not seem to take any effort to tell his readers why Krebs is the last to return home or what happened in the meantime, but Krebs merely comes back late and cannot get his place in his childhood home where everyone else is already settled. This is in fact not a rare or uncommon situation among teenagers or college goers returning back into their own households. But in the case of Harold Krebs, the situation is even more spectacular. Krebs was mentally alone during his world war phase, but was dealing with and disturbed by real life threatening scenarios his parents and other family members could not possibly recognize. Hemingway is not very keen to disclose why Krebs reached his native place after everyone, from the war. Anyhow as per the Kansas City Star, Hemingway himself was gone from Kansas City during the year of 1918 and did not return for a decade, thereby he also became one of 132 former Star soldiers to be attacked during the World War I, in accordance with the Star article published during the time of his death (_http://www.kcstar.com/aboutstar/hemingway/hem6.htm_) Nobody knows where he was gone in the prevailing time. Anyhow in the meanwhile Harold reaches home; the fantasy associated with a returning soldier no longer existed. All the other ex-soldiers have got themselves a special position in their native society, but Krebs is taking much more time to identify himself. he plays pool, "practiced on his clarinet, strolled down town, read, and went to bed" (Hemingway, 1995). From that we can understand that whatever he did, it was only to kill time. The identity issue of Krebs’s, of course, has relation with his definition of who he has developed into. He identifies that something in him has undergone total transformation, and this change is played out radically against the background of a town where everything else was untouched since he was in high school. This static nature is portrayed using several things. His father parks his car in the same place. There is no difference for the car, it looks more or less the same. Even all the girls moving down the lane look more or less like the same girls, except that their hair is shortened. Also we can see that although Krebs admires their looks, he is intentionally preventing himself from the dangers of any sexual involvements with them as if he were still agonized from an ex-affair (Tateo Imamura, 1996). Another critic Daniel Slaughter thinks that a reader gets the notion while reading 'A Soldier's Home' that watching the girls was some sort of a healing process (_http://www.fortunecity.com/boozers/laurel/464/hemingway_1.htm_.) In fact, it is important to find out what took place here. In the first place, no one wanted to recognize Harold's unique identity at his home. His mother demands him to get some work by explaining the fact that "There are no idle hands in God's Kingdom," to which Harold significantly replies that, "I'm not in His Kingdom" (Hemingway, 1995). And we discover that he is not. The world he discovered during WWI had no hands of God in it. As a veteran of WWI, the reader can see that Ernest Hemingway's vivid feelings of life after the world war are beautifully portrayed through his character, Krebs in this story.
Krebs is indifferent to his native town and home, and dislikes the fact that things still stay intricate after the war. The next important segment is the conversation between he and his family, which symbolizes the nature of relationship he has with them. Krebs seems impatient and indifferent to them as well, and finally gets in a heated argument with his own mother about his being re-inserted into society so quickly. Anyways at the end, the reader observes the practical yet hopeful side of Krebs, as he yields himself to the fact that he won't be able to control the amount of confusion life offers him, and that he should just live his life one day at a time. The reader can assume that the storyline is set in a normal town in U.S, from the indication of the lady folk and surrounding culture. Hemingway's style of characters has always been very "to the point" and straight forward, without excessive figurative language and exaggerations. This holds true for "Soldier's Home," as Hemingway once pointed out that he always believed to write the most truthful sentences you ever know. The main tones in this short story are explained below. In the beginning, Krebs describes about his situation in a down-to-earth, realistic way, describing his background and their impact upon him. Krebs simply desires things were less complicated. As he gets into a heated debate with his mother, his outlook on life and every chance for it to be abundant and uncomplicated appears desolate (Tateo Imamura, 1996). However, towards the end of the story, Krebs figures out that in the end, things will go on as expected, and decides to face things as they slowly approaches, and casually watches his younger sibling play baseball. Thus the main theme of this story is that sometimes life may be full of problems, but the best method to face them is not by becoming anxious and constantly thinking about them, but to approach them one thing at a time.