Describe the home of Krebs in "Soldier's Home."

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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We aren't given much physical description of the home of Krebs in this story, but it is clear that the home is a source of conflict in the story, as it does not feel like "home" and represents many of the emotions and desires that Krebs has now rejected because of his wartime experiences.

Note the way that initially at least the home starts off as a tranquil place for Krebs. He is allowed to follow his own routine, getting up later, reading books, playing pool, practising his clarinet and enjoying the worship of his younger sisters and love of his mother. However, as the story progresses, we see that his mother and father are increasingly uncomfortable about their son's inability to "settle down," until his mother confronts him about their concerns openly:

"Your father is worried, too," his mother went on. "He thinks you have lost yoru ambition, that you haven't got a definite aim in life. Charley Simmons, who is just your age, has a god job and is going to be married. The boys are all settling down; they're all determined to get somewhere; you can see that boys like Charley Simmons are on their way to being a real credit to the community."

Note how Charley Simmons is contrasted and used as a foil for Krebs. Simmons has a job, is going to get married and is "settlign down." Simmons represents a normalcy that is completely alien to Krebs who desires to do anything he can to avoid commitment. Such pressure turns the mood of the "home" of Krebs into one that makes it not a home, and it is highly revealing that the final paragraph refers to his abode not as his "home" but as the "house," reflecting the way in which to Krebs, his home has become merely a house. The asssociations that we have of a "home" and warmth, security and safety are now gone and, in its stead, Krebs is left with an impersonal world.

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