How do Mrs. Hopewell’s assumptions about life compare with those of Kreb’s mother in Hemingway’s “Soldier’s Home”? Explain how the conflict in each story is related to what the mothers come to represent in the eyes of the central characters.
Mrs Hopwell from Flannery O’Connor’s “Good Country People” and Kreb’s mother in Ernest Hemingway’s “Soldier’s Home” are similar in situation but differ in key areas. Both mothers are caring for children that are crippled. Mrs Hopewell is caring for a daughter who is physically crippled; Hulga has lost her leg. While Kreb’s mother is caring for a son who’s mentally crippled; Kreb has just returned from the war. That’s not to say Kreb is mentally handicapped, but rather he’s refusing to be accepted into societal norms, similar to Hulga. While their situation is similar, their handling of their children is completely different. Kreb’s mother wants to help her son adjust back into society. “I’ve worried about you” (Hemingway 1) “”God has work for everyone” (Hemingway 1). She is concerned about her son’s future and wants the best for him. “I want to tell you for your own good how matters stand” (Hemingway 1). Mrs Hopewell has a more laissez faire approach to life, and her daughter. We know this from her favorite sayings “Nothing is perfect...Another was: that is life! And still another, the most important, was: well, other people have their opinions too.” (O’Connor 1). These are her favorite sayings. They might as well be life mottos. Through this she allows Hulga to be pretty much whoever hulga wants to be. This is in contrast to Kreb’s mother, who is actively trying to change her son into someone who can transition into modern society.