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Ernest Hemingway “A Clean, Well Lighted Place” Vs. “Soldiers Home”

1576 words - 7 pages

One of the most interesting authors in modern American literature is without a doubt Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway was born in Oak Park, Illinois in 1899; he started writing at the age of seventeen for a newspaper office in Kansas City. When the United States entered World War I, he joined in as a volunteer ambulance driver for the Italian army. Upon his return to the United States he worked for many Canadian and American newspapers. He started writing his novels in the 20's and you can see in his works that his life experiences influenced his writing very much. Hemingway was an avid sportsman. In every aspect of his life he was highly decorated; in war he earned a Silver Medal of ...view middle of the document...

Throughout the tale we travel onto his front porch where he watches people pass by, and into his small city where he watches “good-looking young girls” that have all grown since he was last home. The setting in this story is very important to the tale because his home is a place where he should feel comfortable with his family and the people around him. Also the time that he returned from the war prevented him from having a “hero's welcome” which had an effect on caused his feeling of abandonment.
It's late at night in a lonely cafe where an “old man who sat in the shadow the leaves of the tree made against the electric light,” this is where we meet two waiters and an old man who is reading a book and sipping brandy. Throughout the short story we are taken in and out of the cafe. We do not see any indication of a year that this story takes place but with the time it was written we envision a city street in the early to mid 20's. One of the waiters along with the old man has feelings of loneliness and love for the night.
The after affects of a war always have an effect on people and Hemingway shows us this in Solders Home. Krebs is obviously dealing with the after affects of the war, we see this in many ways, first we see his discomfort when speaking about the war to others, and when he does get the chance to speak about it he lies about his experiences. Another issue that we see in this story is that Krebs has lost his ability to love and feel for people; however we do see a lot of caring for his younger sister when he agrees to go watch her pitch. Now obviously Krebs cares for his family and for people because he feels remorse when he upsets them in any way. War a lot of times will give people a spiritual awakening, but in this case he has lost all respect for religion. We don’t see him specify denounce his religion, however, he cannot pray which upsets his mother. What you must realize about this is that in today’s society there are many views but in the 20's religion was a part of your life.
Krebs views on women and work have changed a lot since the war. When speaking with his mother before breakfast you see that he has been home almost a month and has given no thought to where he wants to work or what he wants to do. His views on women are quite possibly one of the more intriguing parts of the story, on one hand you can see that he is attracted to the women in the town, but the closer they get to him the less he likes them, and we are not talking about getting personally close, but their actual location is what changes his opinion. We see traces of him wanting to be with women when Krebs says “he would have liked a girl if she had come to him and not wanted to talk.”
The conflict in “Solder's Home” is Krebs adjustment to life back in the states. Although we do not see a resolution to this conflict in the story we do see that he cares for his sister very much and wants to make her happy. Perhaps this is a start of...

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