Literary Analysis of Ernest Hemingway's "Soldier's Home".
'Soldier's Home': Of Broken Hearts and Souls.
In the works of Ernest Hemingway, that which is excluded is often as significant as that which is included; a hint is often as important and thought-provoking as an explicit statement. This is why one must read and reread him to enjoy the true flavor of his writing. "Soldier's Home" is a prime example of this art of echo and indirection. .
Harold Krebs, the protagonist of "Soldier's Home", is a young veteran portrayed as suffering from an inability to readjust to society - Krebs suffers from returning to the familial, social, and religious "home". Moreover, the story is also about a conflicted mother-son relationship. Krebs' small-town mother cannot comprehend her son's struggles and sufferings caused by the war. She devotes herself to her religion and never questions her own values; she manipulates her son. She is one of the Hemingway "overbearing mothers" who also appear in "The Doctor and the Doctor's Wife" and "Now I Lay Me". Her sermons to her son lack any power to heal his spiritual wounds. She has determined that Krebs should live in God's "Kingdom," find a job, and get married like the other local boys. The husband and wife relationship observed in "Soldier's Home" is also similar to those in "The Doctor and the Doctor's Wife" and "Now I Lay Me", revealing the mother's dominance of a troubled marriage. Krebs' noncommittal father is obviously dominated by his wife; she makes the decisions. Her advocacy of marriage for Krebs is ironic: not yet recovered from his various psychological and traumatic wounds and trapped by the sick marriage of his parents, marriage is the very commitment he must avoid. .
Furthermore, a careful reading of "Soldier's Home" reveals yet another story discernible beneath the main one. Krebs' indifference towards the girls in the town seems to reflect his disillusionment not only with the war and his parents' marriage, but also with another experience - Krebs' breaking up with a lover: .