Krebs’ Conversation with Mother

“Have you decided what you are going to do yet, Harold?’ his mother said, taking off her glasses.

‘No,’ said Krebs.

‘Don’t you think it’s about time?’ She seemed worried.

‘He thinks you have lost your ambition, that you haven’t got a definite aim in life. Charley Simmons, who is just your age, has a good job and is going to be married.  The boys are all settling down; they’re all determined to get somewhere; you can that boys like Charley Simmons are on their way to be really a credit to the community.’

Krebs said nothing.

‘Don’t look that way, Harold’, his mother said.  ‘You know we love you and I want to tell you for own good how matters stand.  Your father does not want to hamper your freedom.  He thinks you should be allowed to drive the car.  We want you to enjoy yourself.  All work is honorable as he says.  But you’ve got to make a start at something. He asked me to speak to you this morning and then you can see him at his office.’

‘Is that all?” Krebs said. (75)

Hemingway, Ernest. (2003) In Our Time. New York; Scribner.

Notes: conversation resembles real life situation where children aren’t sure of what they will do in the future and parents lecture them that they should start getting serious in life; son gets irritated when mother compares him to other boys and tells him to work in his father’s office, “Is that all?”; a crack in mother-son relationship; mother’s tone starts out on a stern note, “Don’t look that way, Harold” and becomes soft, “We want you to enjoy yourself”; the language is very simple and short


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