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Soldier's Home

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Introduction

Assignment 1 War is a subject to a wide span of feelings; passion and repulsion, hate and admiration. Due to this it has a grave effect on humans and it has always been a popular theme in any medium of art. As always, there are both positive and negative approaches. In "Soldier's Home" by Ernest Hemmingway we are introduced to the dull side. The mere fact that Krebs comes home too late to receive a heroic welcome underlines the absence of glory in any aspect. He quickly realises that the stories that are subject to admiration and impression are lies, and he feels sick at the thought of it. Krebs comes from a religious home. He has gone to a Methodist college, and his mother is deeply religious. We do not know much about his relationship to religion before the war, but at the time of the text he is very ambivalent towards it. ...read more.

Middle

So moral is, in this conception, a negative thing that makes the soldiers lie sleepless at nights with guilt. However, the text seems to contradict itself at some points. For example, it is later said that the feeling of guilt, which derives from moral according to the text, was a helping factor in the process of killing. Moral would then be a good thing, since without moral the soldiers would feel no guilt. Contradictory or not, the text is a good example of the complexity of the situation. As confusing as it is to read it must be even harder for Krebs who is forced to relate to questions like these. The contradiction may be the single most central thing in Krebs' state of mind as in war itself. Ambivalent feelings and contradiction is also the subject in "A Rumour of War" by Philip Caputo. A thing that Caputo and Krebs have in common is that they are not satisfied with being home. ...read more.

Conclusion

A real soldier would never engage in melee combat like Captain Savage does in the picture, but the feeling would probably be the same. The other picture shows a man who seems to be burdened by guilt. The hand that partly covers the mouth suggests some kind of held back feelings, like an act of self-control. The staring glance gives the impression that the soldier is thinking about something which is not positive. He could be feeling guilt or he could be thinking about some of his experiences. These two pictures are both from 1969 which is evidence that there are indeed two sides of war. The difference cannot be explained by a change of mentality or whatnot. "Soldier's Home" is not a story about melancholy or nostalgia, nor honour or victory. It is a story about a man who changed, who returned from the war a stranger in his own country. A man was sent to war, and a soldier returned. The soldier's home is not his home country; it is the battlefield with all the dreads and horrors it may contain. 1 Lines 75-76 ?? ?? ?? ?? 1/3 ...read more.

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