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What makes Krebs leave home in "Soldier's Home"?

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sparkz951 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 7, 2013 at 6:49 PM via iOS

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What makes Krebs leave home in "Soldier's Home"?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 7, 2013 at 8:22 PM (Answer #1)

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While it may be coincidental, it is, nevertheless, interesting that Hemingway has named his story "Soldier's Home," a term used in Eric Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front, a novel that concerns its narrative with the disillusionment of Paul Bremer, a German soldier of World War I.  When Paul returns to the front after having been home on leave for the first time since his enlistment, he goes into training near a Russian prisoner of war camp where he visits the "Soldier's Home," something like the USO that the United States had for their soldiers. But, his sense of the "annihilation of feeling" does not leave him.

Much like Paul, Krebs cannot seem to lose his disillusionment and "annihilation of feeling" and return to being the son that he was before the war.  Added to this, his mother talks to him as though he were yet a boy and he feels compelled to answer her as a child, "I know, Mummy,....I'll try and be a good boy for you." However, he lies for the sake of his mother's feelings. "But the world that they were in was not the world he was in."

Detached from the old life by the horrors of war, Krebs is unable to resume the life he has left at home; therefore, because his family thinks he can return to his former self when he cannot, Krebs feels forced to go away since "it was all over now, anyway."

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