Soldiers Home and Speaking of Courage, are stories that center on war experiences. The two describe the difficulties that the protagonists of the story go through and the challenges they face in adapting to the society. As a reader, one notes that Krebs return is not marked by accolades and parades that are usually given to young men who come back home after serving for a long time. When Krebs returned home from the war, he did not receive a heros welcome. He had arrived years later after the other veterans had come back. In his return, Krebs develops little interest in anything, and he is disengaged from his family. It is evident that the relationship he has with his mother is problematic and he even tells his mother that he does not love her. He comes to learn that the society does not want to hear his war experiences and this brings him nausea and discomfort. Similarly, Bowker undergoes problems in attempts to fit into the community. This paper will delve into the analysis of two stories to highlight the comparison and the contrast evident in the style of writing. The authors utilize various methods to communicate the experiences of war.
Krebs wanted to make people get to know how the war was a severe encounter but he is forced to retreat into near silence. He opts to spend his time sleeping, playing, as well as practicing clarinet along with watching girls. To the reader, Krebs isolates himself from the other people as well as life. He thus illustrates boredom and lethargy. The previous relationship that Krebs had with women resulted in unpleasant consequences and this makes him avoid women. Hemingway quotes that ...He liked to look at them all, though. It was not worth it. He had tried so to keep his life from being complicated (Hemingway 21). From the phrase, it is evident that Krebs is living a life of alienation that is why he spends time looking at the women instead of taking the next step of approaching one, and this results in unpleasant outcomes. He alienates himself from his home and his culture.
Similarly, Bowker in the story Speaking of Courage returns home after his service in the Vietnam War. Equally, he develops difficulties in adjusting to normalcy of everyday life just as it is the case with Krebs. Moreover, Krebs has a problem with his mother, but with Bowker, he faces rejection from his father. Besides, Krebs has a problem with his mother, but with Bowker, he faces rejection from his father. He wishes to explain to his father war encounters, but his father does not seem to care. Krebs does not want to tell the stories because they are not sensational anymore. Bowker, on the other hand, does not want to narrate the incidences because people will be horrified and become disinterested. He resolves the situation by relenting to alienation. He grows quiet and decides to keep the story to himself.
Hemingway uses short and simple sentence constructions, and he employs parallelism. Through this, he manages to portray honesty, terseness, and control. Hemingways purge of diction and the abstract words make him accomplish the effect of being heard translating the story into reality instead of appearing to be imagination constructs. He demonstrates self-discipline, and the prose style he employs denotes to be his greatest contribution to the story. Simply put, prose gives it an authentic simplicity. He accurately makes words correspond to experiences. He uses a little transition between his paragraphs and sentences making syntax to be simple. Notably, this style fits the subject underlined in the storyline through the presentation of thoughts that run in Krebs mind. He has a conscience, and blunt diction and the opening sentence "Krebs went to the war from a Methodist college in Kansas" set the tone of the story (Hemingway 1). The mood is tragic because going to war from a Methodist college signifies the presence of conflict between Krebs religious beliefs and work duties. Indeed, the book is a symbol of war, and the figurative language embedded in this story stresses the experiences of the soldiers and their inability to lead a healthy life similar to other people when they return home.
Conversely, O'Brien uses euphonious diction in attempts to describe the unpleasant situations in a positive view. This is evident when he said, "Every day you either see a scar or courage" (O'Brien 7). Like Hemingway, O'Brien accurately brings to light the pain of war through his prose style. The writing also employs symbolism, which is important to understanding the theme of the story. Again, OBrien uses Mary Ann Bell as a figurative language to signify the embodiment of American arrogance in Vietnam and to create an emotional tone that arouses feelings of empathy from the reader. The story is narrated in third person point of view, for instance, His father would not talk, (OBrien 1). This point of view makes the author to illustrate the feelings of the characters vividly. Notably, O'Brien tells his story with great confidence, and he demonstrates a clear understanding of the subject. OBrien states that The town could not talk, and would not listen "How'd you like to hear about the war?" he might have asked, but the place could only blink and shrug (32). Again, he alternates between the current and grandiose effect in his style of writing.
OBrien and Hemingways stories are similar in that they cover the same story of war and its effects on the soldiers when they return home. The authors employ the third person perspective to illustrate the adverse effects of war on the reintegration of Krebs and Bowker back to their societies and live healthy lives.
Hemingway Ernest. Soldier's Home. New York. Boni & Liveright 1925.O'Brien, Tim. Speaking of Courage. Santa Barbara, Calif., Neville, 1980.
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