A Soldier’s Home vs A & P: Compare & Contrast

A Soldier’s Home vs A & P: Compare & Contrast
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The story of ‘Soldier’s Home’ written by Ernest Hemingway attempts to disclose the insightfulness of the distress of re-admission into one’s old life. Krebs one of the main characters wants everything to be uncomplicated and yet the world seems to be multifarious to him. On the other hand, “A & P” is a sardonic undersized story written by John Updike in which a brave man and the first person chronicler takes a position for what is right and optimistic for an improved future.  The two authors use accurate and comprehensive examples of how each style and setting are portrayed and how they affect the characters. Hemingway presents a style in “Soldiers Home” that is unemotional and grave, while Updike gives readers a young-looking almost humorous style of the story in “A & P”

In the short story “Soldier’s Home,” by Ernest Hemingway, Krebs’s negative response to his society’s values can be correlated to Sammy’s connection to his supermarket job in John Updike’s “A & P.” Even if, these stories are dissimilar in style, one-story being more stern and depressing and the other one being more entertaining, hilarious and sardonic, they both expose two related settings, which the key characters reject. First, Hemingway uses the name Krebs from beginning to the end of the story; he never lets readers become individual or emotional to Krebs. Where in “A&P” Updike reveals the character traits of a young boy nineteen years of age, Sammy, who is acerbic and amusing.

One time where the adolescent is being humorous is revealed when he says, “She was a chunky kid, with a good tan, and a sweet broad soft-looking can, with these two crescents of white just under it, where the sun never seems to hit, at the top of the backs of her legs” (480). Comments about the girls like this one give Updike’s “A&P” youthful humor for readers to enjoy. Another example is revealed when Sammy thinks to himself, “She did not look around, not this queen, she just walked straight on slowly, on these long white prima-donna legs” (481). Statesmen.

Sammy is disenchanted with how his life is; come daytime and, night time, the unchanged repetitive occurrences inhabit his survival at the “A & P”.  All this changes one day as three swimming suit-dressed vixens walk into his life. After being summoned by Sammy’s boss, Lengel, for not wearing the “suitable” communal attire, the girls leave. Sammy, being intrigued with a certain sense of bravery, rebelliously quits his job; in some ways hoping this show of rebelliousness will attract “Queenie’s” concentration. Unluckily for Sammy, the girls depart by the time he sets off from the store. Sammy wanted to go to extreme measures, not caring if it would affect him with an aim of putting some spark into his life. He attempts to do so, but his action takes a wrong turn, and finds himself without girls, and eventually no job. His boss sends a parting word to him “You’ll feel this for the rest of your life.”

Krebs, meanwhile, goes back to a setting that is very dissimilar to the one he earlier left. Finding himself distinguished from the rest of the world, Krebs longs for feminine friends, but at the same time keeps away from them. He yearns for consolation and safety, while at the same time declining them. An example of the concluding is seen when Krebs tells his mother he doesn’t love her, then turns around and invalidates his sentiment. He is scarred by war, more expressively than bodily, as he found a new home on the front lines, one that he sometimes wished he had never left.

Sammy and Krebs are the main characters in these two stories. They are much comparable when their respective psyches are broken down. These two characters help the readers distinguish the different settings used in the stories and how they affect the characters. Both stories revolve around these two main characters. They both feel abandoned by society. Sammy from one that he plays an almost robot-like role in, and Krebs, who experiences detachment from a society that he feels he is lost. He feels lost because he had been away for a long duration, on coming back he felt out of place, even though he was welcomed warmly by his family. Sammy feels lost as well, but not in the somnolent battle-expert-returns way. More revealed in the absentminded miniature town kid who seeks escapade way.  Both stories reveal that they want out; Sammy from his diminutive town blues and Krebs from his home to what he believes is his real home, the battlefront. In this regard, Sammy differs from Krebs.

Work cited:

Hemingway, Ernest. Soldier’s Home. New York: In Our Time, 1925.

Updike, John. A&P. New York: Pigeon Feathers., 1961.