How does Krebs spend his days in Hemingway's "Soldier's Home"?

3 Answers | Add Yours

dymatsuoka's profile pic

dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Krebs is mired in a state of inertia and withdrawal upon his return home from the war.  He quickly settles into a routine of sleeping, reading, wandering, telling lies about a war no one wants to hear about, playing pool in the worst heat of the day, and practicing his clarinet in the cool of the evening.

"sleeping late in bed, getting up to walk down town to the library to get a book, eating lunch at home, reading on the front porch until he became bored and then walking down through the town to spend the hottest hours of the day in the cool dark of the pool the evening he practised on his clarinet, strolled down town, read and went to bed".

Krebs avoids involvement with other people, who do not understand him and with whom he finds he must be fake.  He wants his life just to be "uncomplicated" and finds himself devoid of emotion and feeling.  He realizes that his experiences in the war have changed him too much and that he can no longer find a place to fit in at home with his family in his old hometown.  At the conclusion of the story, Krebs' inertia lifts and he decides to leave and to try to start life anew in Kansas City.

thetall's profile pic

thetall | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

After going back home, nobody wanted to listen to his real encounters in the war, so Krebs resorted to lying on several occasions so as to get a listening ear. However, the lies and exaggerations soon wear him out. During this period, he sleeps in bed until late, then wakes up, after which he walks downtown to collect a book from the library. He then walks back home to have lunch, then later sit on the front porch to read and watch the good-looking girls as they went about their business. When bored with reading, Krebs walks through town to "spend the hottest hours of the day in the cool pool room. He loved to play pool." During the evening hours, Krebs practices music by playing his clarinet, goes for a stroll, reads again, then goes to bed.

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Krebs spends his days in a state of listlessness; he does not want to become involved in the intrigues and politics of his town's life. Because he finds things at home "too complicated," he withdraws into his room for most of his time.

With the title as a double entendre--the soldier is in the home of his youth, and the place is like a soldier's home, a lonely place for injured or retired soldiers--Krebs, who is somewhere in between the innocence of youth and the disillusions of age, does not feel as though he belongs at home any more. Krebs finds that he cannot really return to this home of his youth and resume his old life; too much has happened to him, and he is no longer the same person.

A distaste for everything that had happened to him in the war set in because of the lies he had told....he lost everything.

Krebs does not want to be involved with anyone. He would like to have a girl, but he decides "it was not worth it." So, he merely goes to town to look at the girls. Besides, they are not in the same world as Krebs finds himself. He is changed by the experience of war, changed by the lies he has had to tell.


We’ve answered 317,385 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question