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The answer to this question is made a bit difficult due to the narrative perspective of this story. The story is told from the third-person perspective; however, readers only really get a good look into Krebs's mind. He thinks about girls for a number of paragraphs, so we have a...

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The answer to this question is made a bit difficult due to the narrative perspective of this story. The story is told from the third-person perspective; however, readers only really get a good look into Krebs's mind. He thinks about girls for a number of paragraphs, so we have a good understanding of how he sees girls, but we don't get to listen in on how the girls see themselves. I think Krebs shows readers two things about women for sure. He likes to look at them, and he thinks they are complicated. What's unfortunate about Krebs's attitude is that he thinks the girls are complicated because they have their own thoughts, dreams, desires, and he can understand their language. Krebs will repeatedly tell readers that he likes to look at the girls. He also says over and over again that they are complicated. Then readers are hit with an important single line.

Now he would have liked a girl if she had come to him and not wanted to talk.

In my opinion, this tells readers that Krebs considers women and girls as nothing more than trophy pieces to have on display. It's also possible that Krebs objectified the girls and thinks they exist for sexual reasons. We get the following line that hints at this possibility.

That was the thing about French girls and German girls. There was not all this talking. You couldn't talk much and you did not need to talk.

There likely wasn't "all this talking" because the French and German girls didn't speak English and he didn't speak their language. Krebs didn't have to consider them thinking individuals because they existed for a physical purpose. Now that he has returned home, the girls in his town, with their feuds and shifting alliances, show Krebs that women are far more than a beautiful body to look at. Unfortunately, Krebs is too war-torn at this point to put forth any effort at developing real relationships.

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The first clue readers get about the young women in Krebs's hometown is found in this sentence that describes them:

But they lived in such a complicated world of already defined alliances and shifting feuds that Krebs did not feel the energy or the courage to break into it.

This description of the relationships of the young women is typical of small towns; all of them know each other well and have developed cliques. Even so, the cliques are subject to change as the women squabble among themselves.

The young women are changing with the times; they wear their hair short and are clothed alike in dresses with sweaters in a way that suggests conformity and predictability. Krebs really only likes to look at the girls. There is no interaction between him and them in the story because he has already decided that becoming involved with them would become "too complicated." He has little desire for conversation with young women and figures that eventually, he will find one without really thinking about it.

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