Soldier’s Home

Themes and Colors
War and Trauma Theme Icon
Language of Suppression Theme Icon
Men and Women Theme Icon
Lies and Society Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Soldier’s Home, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Hemingway’s “Soldier’s Home” tells the story of a young soldier named Krebs returning home after World War I. Though Hemingway does not explicitly narrate Krebs’ emotions, the story’s hard-boiled prose style represents Krebs’ suppressed psyche: after the war, Krebs sleeps late, can hardly muster the energy to talk to anyone, and wanders aimlessly around his home town. This disconnect between Krebs and the people around him—his family, other soldiers, and the girls he watches from…

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As is characteristic of Hemingway, the language of “Soldier’s Home” is unadorned and minimalist, filled with simple, declarative sentences that emulate Krebs’ state of mind. Instead of using expressive language to reveal the painful experience of war, Hemingway’s style suppresses that pain under the surface of the story; his prose implies the immense trauma of the past by reflecting Krebs’ inability to describe it. In fact, one could argue that Hemingway uses language not only…

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In much of his work, Hemingway’s characterization of men and women tends to conform to what a modern reader might describe as rigid, sexist gender expectations. “Soldier’s Home” is no exception. While Krebs’ inability to express his feelings can be chalked up to the trauma of war, it also represents a traditionally stoic masculinity that holds emotional vulnerability to be a weakness. In contrast, the women in the story conform to traditional ideas of feminine…

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The idea of lying recurs several times throughout “Soldier’s Home,” and holds a central place in the story. While there are many hints that the trauma of war has profoundly impacted Krebs and that his apathy, disaffection, and loss of a sense of self upon returning home stems from PTSD, the story more explicitly locates Krebs’ issues as stemming from the fact that, upon returning home, “to be listened to at all [about his experiences…

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