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.