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Understanding Depression in A Soldier's Home and A Sorrowful Woman - Essay Example

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The plots of these two stories, A Soldier’s Home and A Sorrowful Woman, are similar in that they show a gradual withdrawal from life of the two main characters. However, the endings are very different…
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Understanding Depression in A Soldiers Home and A Sorrowful Woman
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Of course, as is common in urgent situations where people feel their lives threatened, Krebs makes a promise to God, but he doesn't keep it. In fact, immediately after he is out of the battle and no longer feels and sees shells falling around him and men dying, he reverts to his old behavior. He goes immediately to a bordello, and continues to smoke and drink just as before. We do not ever find out in the story how seriously he takes the break of his promise to God. We have not seen any evidence after he returns home that he is religious at all. The woman in Godwin’s story is at home and the woman asks the husband to put the boy to bed and read him a story. She is detached from them and does not want to ever see them again. We do see evidence of clinical depression in both characters; according to the American psychological Association's DSM IV diagnostic methodology, we can assume that Krebs suffers from PTSD {{7888 Butcher, J. N. 2010}} (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder). However, this is never diagnosed, so Krebs does not get any treatment. It is remotely possible, since the boy is only three, that the woman suffers from prolonged post-partum depression, but it is more likely complicated by some other form of depression{{259 Springer-Kremser,M. 2006}} . The treatment she is given is sleeping potions, which are not particularly effective. Considering the timeframe of the story, this is not surprising. Krebs comes home from the war and moves back in to his parents’ home. Because he came home months after the other returnees, there is no greeting celebration at the train station. So, coming home seems more like a retreat from the war, than a return to normalcy. Krebs has already begun to retreat on his way home by analyzing his participation in the war. This continues after he arrives back in his hometown. The woman retreats a little at a time, divesting herself of duties and then contact. Krebs tries telling the truth, but that is boring, as compared to what other soldiers have talked about when they got home. So Krebs tries telling stories that he knows, as if they were his own. However, this gets little attention, since everyone is really tired of war stories. After that Krebs stops talking altogether. He assumes false modesty to cover up his feelings of inadequacy. Krebs stays at home, sitting on the front porch and watching people. At first he goes to dances and thinks about the local girls. He compares the whores with whom he consorted overseas to the local girls. He did not have to talk to the whores, and in fact, couldn't. He decides the local girls are more real, but he's totally afraid to approach any of them, and feels better even when they are walking across the street, rather than down his side of the street. He fantasizes, but soon even fantasizing becomes boring, so he stops watching altogether, deciding that he doesn't need a girl. He begins going to the library and getting books to read on the porch and visiting the pool hall at night, just to play pool. The woman simply stops doing anything except sleeping and sitting. Her husband hires an aupair who takes care of the family, but cannot get her to come out. There is a brief period when she is able to go out with her husband, but this does not last. It is uncertain why, but the woman insists on firing the very competent girl and the husband has to take over all the household chores and childcare. She moves into the room the girl had occupied and only comes out when nobody is ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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