Integration of Veterans into Civil Life in Soldier's Home

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In Hemingway's story, 'Soldier's Home,” we read about a young man named Harold Krebs returns from his tour in Europe during the first world war, but not to a hero's welcome. The story outlines the main character's inability to connect and feel anything but confusion upon his return. Hemingway does a very good job of outlining the young man’s struggle with PTSD and his trouble assimilating back into civilian life. Krebs is first introduced as having returned after the war was over and having missed the welcoming of hero’s in his hometown. He wasn't drafted like the other men in his town had been, he volunteered and enlisted in the Army for two years. 

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By the time that he had completed his enlistment, everyone in town was bored and tired of hearing about the war and the terrible things that had happened. “Later he felt the need to talk but no one wanted to hear about it. His town had heard too many atrocity stories to be thrilled by actualities.” (1) Krebs is essentially isolated and left to deal with his experiences by himself which causes him to feel even further removed from the people around him. He feels like he is alone and everyone else has become more complicated in their day to day lives since he had left. “But here at home, it was all too complicated. He knew he could never get through it all again. It was not worth the trouble.” (2) He feels that his family loves him but doesn't understand how he is feeling. They want him to fall back into normal life like everyone around him has. His father even offers his car so that he can take a girl out and wants him to settle down and come talk to him at his office to discuss his future. Krebs is not ready for this though. He does not seem to feel a connection with anyone, not even his sister, who he calls his 'best sister'. 

He does, however, try to make her and his mother happy by telling her he loves her after an argument that made her cry in which he said he did not love anyone. Hemingway’s story of Kreb’s return and trouble with civilian life was and still is a very common occurrence with our veteran population and he did very well describing these emotions in a way that the public could empathize with.

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