You Are At: AllSands Home > Literature > Ernest Hemingway's A Soldier's Home
The story, A Soldier's Home, is about a man in conflict with the past and present events in his life. A young man, known to us as Harold Krebs, struggles to find a balance in the beliefs of his past and present. The images of war shattered many of his past beliefs, so he has to struggle to find his own beliefs.

Krebs' parents, like most parents, raised their son with beliefs very close to their own. Therefore, Krebs was raised in a strict Methodist home in a small mid-western town. He was taught not to cheat, lie, steal, or kill, and was also taught the "Power" of prayer. Krebs was a Marine and was sent over to fight in the first World War. During the war, Krebs put aside most of his beliefs and did as he pleased. Due to the nature of the war, he was forced to kill the enemy troops or be killed himself. He watched most of his fellow servicemen die on the battlefield. After the war, Krebs tried to bury the emotional pain he felt through his relationships with various women. All attempts of this failed. He returned home after a few years to his family: a devout mother who wanted Krebs to refresh his faith and settle down, a sister who wanted to feel love from her brother, and an unforgiving father who wanted Krebs to support himself. Plagued by the traumatic stress of the war, Krebs finds tries to find his lost faith in God, to tackle his inability to love, and to find his way back into a normal routine.

Through this story, Hemingway tried to shed light on the life of a soldier. Though he was not a soldier himself, he probably heard many stories from the victims of the war as an ambulance driver in World War I. I feel Hemingway wrote this story as an attempt to release many his feelings about his own life. Krebs has an overbearing father who is not satisfied by his son's actions. Krebs' mother was very loving and wanted the very best for her son. She had her ideas which she often shared with little thought of how her son would be affected. Hemingway's parents were very similar to Krebs' parents. Hemingway went against his father's wishes by becoming a writer. He therefore felt very alienated from his father.

Krebs' has one other thing in common with Hemingway: the issue of possible manic depressive illness. Hemingway had this illness, which may have caused him to commit suicide. I think Krebs is plagued by the illness as well. During the war and immediately after the war, he is in the elation phase of the illness. He is very promiscuous, drinks heavily and is very concerned with having fun. After returning home, he sinks in to a depression in which nothing is fun and the event of his war experience meets up with him. Though these feelings are related to post traumatic stress disorder after the war, I saw a similarity in Hemingway and Krebs which may be intentional.