In Our Time

A Prairie Tale: Atmosphere and Social Environment in Setting of Ernest Hemingway's "Soldier's Home"

In "Soldier's Home," Ernest Hemingway makes use of a small-town setting to provide his readers with insight into the troubled, young mind of Harold Krebs. Harold Krebs struggles to adjust to life in Hemingway's lifeless Oklahoma town shortly after his late return from combat in World War I. Hemingway's social environment in "Soldier's Home" contributes to its family-based, yet dull atmosphere, with which Krebs must attempt to cope. Hemingway utilizes many aspects of setting, constructively pairing place and time, along with the social environment present in "Soldier's Home," to develop a monotonous atmosphere that parallels Krebs' sentiment.

Hemmingway produces a place for the reader: an Oklahoma town during a 1920s boom to which Harold Krebs returns after serving his country in World War I, only to find that most everything is the same, with only few changes to its setting. Krebs finds Hemingway's world much too complicated underneath, for its simplicity on the surface; Krebs particularly notices the young girls of the town, mainly from the comfort of his home porch:

Nothing was changed in the town except that the young girls had grown up. But they lived in such a...

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