What are some of Harold Krebs's fears?
Harold Krebs is the main character in Ernest Hemingway's short story "Soldier's Home." Harold is a World War I veteran who has returned to his hometown in Oklahoma. He had served as a Marine in several of the most important battles which ultimately decided the war. Harold seems to most fear a complicated interpersonal relationship, either with anyone in his family or with a potential girlfriend. He claims he wants his life to "go smoothly" without consequences.
Apparently, the war has traumatized Harold and, after witnessing the horrors of battle, he seems very much afraid of loving another person. He avoids the girls in the town that he finds attractive but admits an actual relationship with one would not be "worth it." Instead, Harold withdraws from connections with people. When questioned by his sister about whether he loves her and could be her "beau," he is noncommittal. Later, he even admits that he doesn't love his mother when she questions him about his future and what his plans will be. In the end, however, Hemingway suggests that Harold may eventually be able to love again. In his conversation with his sister, she tells him that he doesn't love her if he won't come to her indoor baseball game. After his confrontation with his mother, Harold admits that he cannot live without "consequences" and he says he will indeed go to watch Helen play baseball:
He wanted his life to go smoothly. It had just gotten going that way. Well, that was all over now, anyway. He would go over to the schoolyard and watch Helen play indoor baseball.