Last Updated 22 Nov 2022

An Analysis of War’s Affect on People in the Portable Phonograph by Walter Van Tilburg and Soldier’s Home by Ernest Hemingway

Category Culture, Music, Psychology
Words 475 (1 page)

Similarly, in Clark's "The Portable Phonograph" the heartbreaking description at the beginning of the story shows how both the environment and the personalities of characters have been greatly affected by the cruelties of war. The city has been reduced to rubble. The sky is grey. People look for any way to help them forget that they are seriously affected by the war. These escapes are literature and music. The story starts with the scene of four men surrounding a small fire within the cave. Dr. Jenkins has invites three men into his cave. On this day he exceptionally shares his treasures that he has saved during the war with the men.

There are things he believes are the soul of good relaxing enjoyment for them at this period of time. Things like music and good books. He generously reads his books to the other men and plays his old portable phonograph with one of his treasured steel needles to entertain his guests. During the reading, and playing the phonograph, those men show the enormity of their desire and excitement, such as might a thirsty person who lives in a desert and has seen the oasis. The young musician, while he is listening to the phonograph, seems to experience the greatest impact of the group.

He is so emotionally involved with the music, that after the music stops, he decides to leave without saying a word to Dr. Jenkins or the others. This shows how important the music is to him. Like a medicine, it helps heal the wounds of war but at the same time shows him his loss. After his guests depart, Dr. Jenkins has thoughts of paranoia and theft. He too was healed by the day's visit but the wounds in him force mistrust of humans. The major characters in both stories are different types of victims left behind by war. Krebs, as a veteran, and Dr. Jenkins and the musician as lovers of fine art.

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Krebs comes back to the same environment as a veteran of war. Dr. Jenkins' group's environment changed entirely which forces a change in their personalities. Krebs is pessimistic in facing his new environment, even though the environment itself has not been changed by the war but only Krebs himself has been damaged within. He forces himself to lie in order to gain recognition. Unlike Krebs, the characters in "The Portable Phonograph" adapt to their post war environment. They are survivors but they are damaged from their experiences and must find comfort in small pleasures such as music and books. Like Krebs, they avoid reality but through music rather than avoiding honest communication with people such as Krebs does. No matter what a person's role in war, soldier or civilian, the effects on the soul are equally damaging. The effects on the environment further shake up any comfort left to cling to.

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An Analysis of War’s Affect on People in the Portable Phonograph by Walter Van Tilburg and Soldier’s Home by Ernest Hemingway. (2022, Nov 22). Retrieved from

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