Soldier’s Home

by

Ernest Hemingway

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Helen is one of Krebs’s two sisters, though he admits that she is the one he likes best. She is the only character in the story to whom Krebs responds with some positivity. When Helen asks whether he will always love her, for example, Krebs says, “Sure.” She also teases him and calls him by a nickname, and, in this way, represents a certain joyfulness and youth—qualities that seem to appeal to Krebs. Indeed, at one point Helen tells him, “If you loved me, you’d want to come over and watch me play indoor [baseball],” and at the end of the story Krebs decides to do just that. This reaffirms his love for and loyalty to Helen, and also restores some hope in Krebs’s somewhat bleak emotional situation. At the same time, however, the gesture is small, and associated with Helen’s own naiveté about what love is. By playing baseball, Helen also represents a certain intersection of female and male gender expectations. That Helen plays baseball and pitches better than the boys blurs the line between masculinity and femininity. Though Hemingway’s characters often reflect rigid, sexist ideas, the author also, at times, gestures towards the transcendence of these boundaries through female characters like Helen.

Helen Quotes in Soldier’s Home

The Soldier’s Home quotes below are all either spoken by Helen or refer to Helen. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
War and Trauma Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Scribner edition of Soldier’s Home published in 1998.
Soldier’s Home Quotes

“Aw, Hare, you don’t love me. If you loved me, you’d want to come over and watch me play indoor.”

Related Characters: Harold Krebs, Helen
Page Number: 115
Explanation and Analysis:

“So his mother prayed for him and then they stood up and Krebs kissed his mother and went out of the house. He had tried so to keep his life from being complicated. Still, none of it had touched him…He wanted his life to go smoothly. It had just gotten going that way. Well, that was over now, anyway. He would go to the schoolyard and watch Helen play indoor baseball.”

Page Number: 113
Explanation and Analysis:
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Soldier’s Home PDF

Helen Character Timeline in Soldier’s Home

The timeline below shows where the character Helen appears in Soldier’s Home. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Soldier’s Home
Men and Women Theme Icon
Krebs goes downstairs for breakfast and his sister Helen teases him about sleeping a lot. She uses a nickname “Hare.” She hands him the... (full context)
Language of Suppression Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Helen tells Krebs that she is playing indoor baseball that afternoon, and she brags about being... (full context)
Language of Suppression Theme Icon
Lies and Society Theme Icon
Krebs’s mother ushers Helen out of the kitchen, as she wants to speak with Krebs alone. She sits down... (full context)
War and Trauma Theme Icon
Language of Suppression Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Lies and Society Theme Icon
...wants his life “to go smoothly.” He “would” go over to the schoolyard to watch Helen play baseball. (full context)