Humanities 112: The Modern World
Study and / or Extra Credit Questions "Soldier's Home," Ernest Hemingway, 1925
(Read by Friday, November 2nd)
1. What kind of person was Krebs before the war? What does the description in the first paragraph tell you about him? Why does the narrator mention that the fraternity brothers were all "wearing exactly the same height and style collar"?
2. How does the vision of Germany and the Rhine in the second paragraph contrast with the description in the first paragraph? What does this tell you about his experience?
3. Look closely at the language in this passage (or any other passage in the story): "Nothing was changed in the town except that the young girls had grown up. But they lived in such a complicated world of already defined alliances and shifting feuds that Krebs did not feel the energy or the courage to break into it. He liked to look at them, though. There were so many good-looking young girls. Most of them had their hair cut short. When he went away only little girls wore their hair like that or girls that were fast. They all wore sweaters and shirt waists with round Dutch collars. It was a pattern. He liked to look at them from the front porch as they walked on the other side of the street. He liked to watch them walking under the shade of the trees. He liked the round Dutch collars above their sweaters. He liked their silk stockings and flat shoes. He liked their bobbed hair and the way they walked".
What words or sentence patterns are repeated? What is conveyed by this repetition, and how does it help you to understand Krebs? What does he focus on as he watches the girls? Why does he find the "already defined alliances and shifting feuds" too "complicated" for him?
4. Krebs thinks a lot about "lies" in this story. What kinds of lies does he tell or refuse to tell? Why do they nauseate him? In what way might this be connected to his war experiences?
5. What is Krebs's relationship with his...