What does Krebs's attitude toward the girls in town reveal about his state of mind?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Krebs is emotionally damaged from his war experience and feels unable to make himself understood to anyone except the veterans who can empathize with him. He is interested in girls and enjoys looking at them, but he has concluded that "they lived in such a complicated world of already defined...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Krebs is emotionally damaged from his war experience and feels unable to make himself understood to anyone except the veterans who can empathize with him. He is interested in girls and enjoys looking at them, but he has concluded that "they lived in such a complicated world of already defined alliances and shifting feuds that [he] did not feel the energy or the courage to break into it." Krebs feels that in the years that he has been away from town during his military service, the young men and women have settled into groups that would require considerable effort for him to inject himself into to begin a relationship.

When Krebs encounters girls in town, instead of gravitating toward them, he feels repelled by them. It is not their looks; it is the social dynamics that make him believe that "he did not want to get into the intrigue and the politics" that would be necessary to become involved in the town's social scene. His alienation from his family and peers is the result of the trauma he experienced abroad. Krebs doubts that anyone who was not involved in the war can truly understand the damage it has done to him, and the effort required to make anyone understand is more than he is willing to attempt. It is likely that he fears rejection. The war has been over for some time, and the people that surround him have moved on with their lives. Though he is surrounded by people upon his reintegration into postwar society, Krebs exists in self-imposed isolation.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team