In Hemingway’s “A Soldier’s Home,” the main character experiences apathy for a multitude of reasons. Harold Krebs was trained in a way that made him void of any empathy. The disinterest towards maintaining normal relationships or any mundane hobbies settled in after the return to civilian life (Hemingway 2). This lethargic state was not only a result of his war experiences but also from the callousness of society towards them. Krebs has obtained a distaste towards everything war-related, at the same time, he was unable to regain his link with post-war society, which left him in a state of limbo (Hemingway 1). In reality, as it becomes apparent from Krebs’ dialogue with his mother, he only feels emptiness.
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The main character loathes liars since their exaggerations and sensationalism created a false sense of grandeur around the war. The reality of his experience was seen as unimportant from the point of view of the majority (Hemingway 1). People grew tired of hearing about the horrors of war and were unwilling to give Krebs any attention, which further pushed him into an apathetic state.
Edifying stories are meant to convey some positive moral message within their plot. The plot of “A Soldier’s Home” is not meant to teach a reader about some idealistic morals that the author placed in it. Instead, Hemingway chose to depict the grim reality of an ex-solider and the reasons for his disillusionment with life. Perhaps, another author could have put a message into the story by adding the plot for the improvement of Krebs’ mental state. For example, Krebs could have been awoken from his apathy by his mother’s display of genuine care.
Hemingway, Ernest. Soldier’s home. Boni & Liveright, 1925.