Symbolism In Soldier's Home

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Both “Speaking of Courage” by Tim O’Brien and “Soldier’s Home” by Ernest Hemingway use the townspeople as a symbol for how society treats soldiers. The authors show this symbolism by how the townspeople treat the soldiers, how the soldiers treat girls, and how the soldiers treat the townspeople over time. The symbolism in this story gives a message to the reader to treat soldiers with respect, and not just ignore them because their story is boring or uncomfortable. In “Soldier’s Home,” Krebs’ town is one which “has heard too many atrocity stories to be thrilled by actualities” (84). This is because in a true war story “there’s nothing much to say about the war story, except maybe ‘Oh’” (How to Tell a True War Story, Tim O’Brien, 39). This …show more content…

Krebs thought girls were “not worth the trouble.” (85) Although he may not have had the motivation to pick up the girls, he “liked looking at them.” (85) This is in no way the girls’ fault, however it shows how the war affected Krebs’ drive to do tasks that involve socialization. Perhaps if the townspeople were more open to listen to Krebs’ story then he would be more comfortable with girls. His mother is an example of how he interacts with women. He is shown to be very uncomfortable, and ends up with his mother’s feelings hurt. This shows how because nobody talked to him, he couldn’t talk to anyone comfortably. In “Speaking of Courage,” Bowker has two main girls he interacts with. The worker at Mama Burger symbolizes how Bowker interacts with real girls: awkwardly. His imagined scene about Sally Kramer represents how he wishes he could talk to girls: smoothly without a single stutter, and the only stops in his conversation is when Sally stops him, not when he stops himself. The description of these girls symbolizes how drastic the difference between what Bowker wants to do and what he can do is. This use of girls shows how the characters communicate with others which shows how terribly the characters act in social

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