In the conversation between Mrs. Krebs and Harold at the end of the story, Mrs. Krebs asks Harold if he has decided what he is going to do with the rest of his life. She and her husband want Harold to go out and find a job, but Harold, who has discovered that he can't fit back into his old life after his experiences in the war, has settled into a state of inertia, and has no desire to do what they suggest. Mrs. Krebs then argues her point from a religious perspective, saying, "God has some work for every one to do...there can be no idle hands in His Kingdom", but Harold responds, "I'm not in His Kingdom". Mrs. Krebs next asks Harold if he loves her, and, in all honesty, Harold, who finds himself devoid of emotions of tenderness, has to answer "No".
Harold can no longer find any meaning in life. He has lost direction and ambition, a relationship with God, and the ability to feel and to love. In the course of his conversation with Mrs. Krebs, he also loses his integrity. Unable to stand seeing how much she is hurt by his admission that he does not love her, Harold reneges, saying, "I didn't mean it...I was just angry at something...I didn't mean I didn't love you". In order to soothe his mother's feelings, Harold is forced to lie.