Soldier’s Home

by

Ernest Hemingway

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Krebs’s Mother Character Analysis

Though Krebs’s mother seems to try to understand her son’s experience in the war, in Krebs’s point of view, she fails to the point of almost making things worse. Throughout the story, she is a woman of faith, invoking God and praying frequently—a characteristic that starkly contrasts with Krebs’s own inability to pray. Krebs’s mother is also the most talkative character in the story, as is evident in the final scene in which she goes on about the other boys in the town who are already working and moving on with their lives; she wants Krebs to do the same. Krebs’s mother is in many ways a foil to Krebs. Where she is very emotional, crying when Krebs says he does not love her, for instance, Krebs is stoic and indifferent. Where she is devout, Krebs feels no connection to God. Where she is talkative, Krebs is monosyllabic. By showing Krebs’s mother coming into Krebs’s room at the end of the story, Hemingway gestures towards the idea that she is trying desperately to access her son’s inner, private space; her methods fail, however, as she simply cannot relate to Krebs. Krebs feels embarrassed for his mother and, by the end of the story, resolves that he will find a job just to appease her.

Krebs’s Mother Quotes in Soldier’s Home

The Soldier’s Home quotes below are all either spoken by Krebs’s Mother or refer to Krebs’s Mother. 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

“His mother looked at him across the table. Her eyes were shiny. She started crying.”

Related Characters: Harold Krebs, Krebs’s Mother
Page Number: 116
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:
Get the entire Soldier’s Home LitChart as a printable PDF.
Soldier’s Home PDF

Krebs’s Mother Character Timeline in Soldier’s Home

The timeline below shows where the character Krebs’s Mother appears in Soldier’s Home. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Soldier’s Home
War and Trauma Theme Icon
...practices clarinet and wanders around down town. His sisters still look up to him, and his mother tries to listen to his stories but doesn’t have the attention span. His father is... (full context)
War and Trauma Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
One morning at home, Krebs’s mother comes into his bedroom and tells him that she talked with his father. They’ve decided... (full context)
Men and Women Theme Icon
...nickname “Hare.” She hands him the paper, The Kansas City Star, and he opens it. His mother tells him not to “muss it” because his father likes reading it. (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... (full context)
War and Trauma Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Krebs’s mother continues, explaining that she knows how war must affect young men, as her father and... (full context)
Language of Suppression Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Lies and Society Theme Icon
Krebs’s mother asks Krebs if he loves her. He responds no, and she starts crying, putting her... (full context)
War and Trauma Theme Icon
Language of Suppression Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Lies and Society Theme Icon
Krebs then kisses his mother and leaves the house, reflecting that his mother made him lie and that his efforts... (full context)