‘Soldier’s Home’ by Ernest Hemingway

Soldier’s Home by Ernest Hemingway, 1925

The magic trick:

Reflecting the disconnect between soldier and the home he returns to

You likely don’t think Hemingway when you think Oklahoma literature. But he was a Midwesterner, so it’s not crazy that he would have his soldier returning home from World War I to Oklahoma in this story. The language can be a little weird in this one. Hemingway repeats phrases, which would appear to fly in the face of his penchant for efficiency. But it works. It reflects the young soldier’s mindset, his clouded worldview after war. There is some serious disconnect between the soldier, the town he left, and the town he returned home to. And that’s quite a trick on Hemingway’s part.

The selection:

He liked the girls that were walking along the other side of the street. He liked the look of them much better than the French girls or the German girls. But the world they were in was not the world he was in. He would like to have one of them. But it was not worth it. They were such a nice pattern. He liked the pattern. It was exciting. But he would not go through all the talking. He did not want one badly enough. He liked to look at them all, though. It was not worth it. Not now when things were getting good again.

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