I'm interested in knowing how the theme of war has affected Krebs in "Soldier's Home" by Ernest Hemingway.

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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When Krebs arrives home after the war, he begins to realize what so many veterans discover upon their return: that his experiences overseas and the horrors he has seen on the battlefield will be the defining moments of his life. Although Krebs does not initially want to talk about what has happened to him in France and Germany, he soon realizes that this is the only thing people want to hear about. Because he has returned so many months after the surrender, he has missed the parades and accolades the other returning vets received. The stories that he eventually begins to reveal are passe, and he finds himself telling tiny lies to compensate for their lack of excitement and bravado. The lies he tells make him sick to his stomach, and they 

... now lost their cool, valuable quality and then were lost themselves.

Leaving the little Oklahoma town as a boy, he has returned as a man, but he is hardly ready to settle down into the world of adult responsibilities. He is content to sleep late and hang around his house before heading downtown to shoot pool. He is not interested in getting a job or a girl; women aren't worth the time or trouble that it takes to court them. Krebs prefers the company of men, and the years spent in his fraternity and the service have provided him with a camaraderie that he is not able to duplicate with his family. He no longer feels love--

"I don't love anybody..."

and he soon comes to realize that he will never be able to return to the old ways his family wants for him. His "Soldier's Home" has become more like a sanctuary for aged veterans to spend their last days than a home town where he can resume his old life again. Krebs knows that in order to put aside the memories of war and reestablish his identity, he must first get away from his parents and the town where "Nothing was changed..."


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