Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Comparing Loss of Self in Soldiers Home, Pauls Case, and Bartleby Essa

Loss of Self in Hemingway's Soldiers Home, Cather's Paul's Case, and Melville's Bartleby the Scrivener  Ã‚     Ã‚  Ã‚   Hemingway's "Soldiers Home," Cather's "Paul's Case," and Melville's "Bartleby the Scrivener" all present a loss of self. These stories prove that there is a fine line between finding one's self and losing one's self. I believe this loss can occur at any age or station of life. This idea is seen in each story's main character. Hemingway's "Soldier's Home" depicts a young man in his early twenties after his return from World War I. The young man, Krebs, has arrived home too late. Thus, he doesn't receive the adulation of the town as the others did. This first loss was the beginning of a long inward journey for Krebs. His unwillingness, then inability, to discuss his part in the war with others immediately had an effect on Krebs. He was unable to get some form of closure, something which he direly needed. Due to the extravagant stories foretold by others, Krebs was forced to lie in order to fit in. These lies bothered Krebs. They not only went against him morally, but they also started to deteriorate his feelings about the war: "A distaste for everything that had happened to him in the war set in because of the lies he had told. All the times that had been able to make him feel cool and clear inside himself when he thought of lost their cool, valuable quality and then were lost themselves" (224). Earl Rovit explains this even further stating, "if he can't trust in truth of these experiences, he will then have lost everything" (255). These feelings that Krebs has are not unfamiliar. This situation is seen in a handful of other stories of the times, but Hemingway's story "delineates the desperate inc... ...: 189-194. Cather, Willa. "Paul's Case."The American Short Story. Volume II. Ed. Calvin Skaggs. New York: Dell, 1980:160-180. Decker, Timothy. "The Mechanization of a Scrivener." Bartleby the Scrivener by Herman Melville. URL: Hemingway, Ernest. "Soldier's Home." The American Short Story. Volume I. Ed. Calvin Skaggs. New York: Dell, 1977: 224-231. Hyzack,Greg. "The Mentally Disturbed Scrivener." Bartleby the Scrivener by Herman Melville. URL: Melville, Herman. "Bartleby the Scrivener." The Story and Its Writer. Ed. Ann Charters. Boston: St. Martin's, 1995: 513-539. Rovit, Earl. "On Ernest Hemingway and 'Soldier's Home.'" The American Short Story. Volume I. Ed. Calvin Skaggs. New York: Dell, 1977: 251-255.      

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