In "The Soldier's Home," what makes Krebs decide to leave home?

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bmadnick | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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Krebs cannot forget his experiences during WWI. People in his hometown have romanticized war, but Krebs knows how horrible war is. He just can't tell anyone how terrible it is when all that the people want to hear is their glorified version of war. He accommodates them by telling lies about what happened in the war because he's trying to fit in to a society that doesn't understand what he's been through. It is his relationship with his mother that puts Krebs over the edge, and he realizes he can't stay with her in the town where he grew up. Mrs. Krebs still treats her son as a little boy, accusing him of not loving her when he won't do as she asks. Krebs responds by telling his mother he no longer has the capacity to love because of what the war did to him. When she cries, Krebs realizes he can never make her understand what he went through, and he lies, telling her he was just upset about something else. He tells her what she wants to hear, and he promises to be a "good boy". This event gives him the courage to leave and go somewhere else where people don't expect him to be what he was before the war.


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