A Soldiers Home Essay, Research Paper
The willingness to risk failure-as difficult as that can be-often leads us to remarkable discoveries about ourselves and our world. But on the other hand, not taking risks can save us from amounts of devastation and heartache. I think that was a major principle for Krebs in the short story, “Soldiers Home.” After going to hell and back, it’s almost inevitable that anyone under the circumstances would be completely overwhelmed by all that Krebs had experienced and risked. He risked his life, and was then thrown back into a society that he had been absent from for years, and finds that its all the exact way that he had left it, except he says, “Nothing was changed in the town except that the young girls had grown up.”
In Krebs case, after returning from war, he had become a completely different person. Distant, quiet and depressed. He didn’t want to risk any complications. He didn’t want to risk any part of himself ever again. He didn’t want to work for what he wanted, he had worked hard enough and had been through a lifetime of disaster. All he wanted was to sit back and just live. Not enjoy life, not experience new and better things, he just wanted to live without any complications and without taking any risks.
He mentions that he would like to have a girl, or more so wouldn’t mind. But he doesn’t want to work to get her, or do anything drastic to get her attention. It would just all be to complicated. He wants no commitment, no strings attached. “He did not want any consequences. He did not want any consequences ever again. He wanted to live without consequences. Besides, he did not really need a girl. The army had taught him that.” For Krebs, asking out a girl would be a risk and lead to complications whether good or bad. And taking that risk just wasn’t worth anything. Krebs was dead inside. Not intentionally, but subconsciously. He knew not of what he was doing. He would now just walk through life with just the motions. No feelings, no love, no sorrow, just living. “Don’t you love your mother, dear boy?” says his mother. “No, said Krebs, I don’t love anybody.” This was not a lie. He no longer loved anybody. And that was a risk he was willing to take. And that seems to not affect him at all. No risks, no complications. The war had been complicated enough in itself, for the world and to Krebs.