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Emotional Response to War Experience

Emotional response to war experience

War has  become  one  of  the  very  complicated  and  dangerous  experience  soldiers  go  through.  Soldiers  in  different  countries  and  different  armed  forces  go  into  war  with  the  aim  of  protecting  their  native  land. Some  soldiers  take part in war unreservedly,  because  protecting  their  motherland  is one  of  the  oaths  they  swore  while  joining  the  military. Thus, it is their chief responsibility.

Soldiers go to  war  because they  are  confident  that their  homeland needs help during  and  after  the  war.  It is  very  necessary  to  support  the  soldiers  because  they go through  a  lot  of  terrifying  events  during  the  war.  Just  as  Krebs  and  Rat, they  are  soldiers  who  volunteered  their  efforts and life,  and  decided  to  protect  and  fight  for  their  country.  Despite  many  challenges  they  faced  during  the  war, they  kept  their  mind  and  attitude  steadfast  in accordance with their  duties.  The  war  experience  changed  their  life  in  terms  of  how  they  viewed  the  community (Hemingway, 24).                                          

A close examination of  the  lives  of  Krebs  and  Rat  reveals that they  were  both  ordinary  people  who  went  on  well  with the  norms  and  attitude  of  the  society.  However, after the war, they viewed life from a different dimension.  They  used  to  integrate  and  relate  well  with  members  of  the  community.  After  the  war,  they  realized that  life  was  not  all  about  the  daily  routine  like  sleeping, eating,  playing, going  to  church  and  undertaking household  chores. According  to  Krebs and Rat, life  had  completely  taken  a  different  turn, things  seemed to become  different.  Krebs felt like his mother did not understand him. She was not aware that her son had changed. He became a man with experience.  The same happened to Rat. He  felt like  the  sister of his  dead  friend  did not comprehend  the  experience  they  had gained. As the result,  he  acknowledged  arrogantly  when  she  failed  to  reply  the  letter.                 Rat  and  Krebs  felt  like  their  effort  to  fight  for  their  country was not acknowledged. In their point of view, society did not accord full respect for their heroic act.  Krebs   and Rat believed that their priorities in life had changed. According to O'Brien, Krebs was expected  to  date a  girl and  eventually  married  her, but  for  him,  dating  and  marrying  had become  a  complicated  and  challenging  task (27). Krebs acknowledged this fact due to the routine way  of  forcing  or  luring  German girls into a sexual act, just  like Rat who  referred  to  his  dead  friend’s  sister  as  foolish, ignorant  and  lacking  integrity.  These two soldiers have lost the social aspect of   their life.  They  looked  at  the  people, friends  and  relatives  around  them  bitterly, taking into consideration the fact that they had participated  in  war (Hemingway 10).                                                                 Though, sometimes soldiers tried to be a little considerate. For  instance,  Krebs tried  to  relate  with his  family, he made efforts to give  his  mother  the  respect  she  deserved.  He  went to  church  to  pray  with  his  family, though  he  did  that  with the aim to  please  his  mother. They differed from other soldiers, especially those who had lost a lot during the war. For Rat, all that matter was the life of his dear friend Lemon. He considered that  even  Lemon’s  sister  was  not  aware  how  close  her  brother  had been  to  him.  Rat  was  keen  to  narrate  what  his  dead  friend  meant to  him (O'Brien et al., 12).                                                                                                   

Rat  was  missing  the  war  experience  which  was  like a fun, due  to  his  dear  friend.  He missed his company so much. War  had  taught  him  an  important  thing; it  had  made  him  discover  the  loopholes  and the  irrelevant  people  in  his  life.  When  Rat  offered  to  help  his  friend’s  sister, he  discovered that  she had refused  by  failing  to  reply  the  letter.  As  for  Krebs, he  actually  blamed the  war  for  teaching  him  unacceptable  norms. The  norms  that  really  brought  him  up  and  learnt to  live  with  them.

Both Krebs and Rat were involved in war, but for Krebs, this seemed to create a big difference between his life and his social aspect. For Krebs, there was nothing in the social welfare of his family that disturbed his mind because he understood their thinking. Rat, on the other hand, seemed to be jovial to the society; this was shown by his letter to the society, but the fact that he received no response from his friend’s sister provoked him. It made Rat feel out of place and irrelevant. The author makes it evident when Rat did not give a damn to what his friend would feel or interpret the letter. Considering Krebs’ attitude, he was quite familiar with his mother’s feeling and tried not to offend her.                       

To  conclude, war  has  taught  soldiers many things, some  acceptable  in  the  society,  others  not. The  bottom  line  is  that  soldiers  need  to  be  recognized  and  welcomed  for  their  heroic  act.  This will motivate and make them feel being necessary in the society, taking into consideration their efforts to protect lives of thousand people and attempts to be useful for motherland.  They  also  need  to  be  counseled  on  how  to  adapt  to  the  society  and  reclaim  their  human  sense.  War  is  a  difficult  task  and  one  undergoes  a  lot  of  traumas  in  it. War entails self devotion, both mentally and spiritually. It shows that a soldier is a true confidential patriot to his or her country.

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