There are several symbols in this story of the traumatized soldier Harold Krebs. He comes home from World War I to his small town in Oklahoma and does not find anyone who can understand him or what he has been through.
In the first paragraph, the photo of him with his fraternity brothers all wearing "exactly the same height and style collar" symbolizes that Krebs is an "everyman"—he is meant to represent or symbolize the experience of many, many soldiers of his age and social standing who went to fight in World War I and came home as the "lost generation." The idea put forth here is that he is not unique in his experience.
In the second paragraph—in which Krebs and his colonel look "too big" for their uniforms, the German girls aren't pretty, and there is no Rhine in the picture—the photo symbolizes how out of place he and others Americans like him were in Europe.
At the end of the story, Krebs going to watch his sister Helen play...
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