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Elijah Murphy
Elijah Murphy

Exploring the Themes and Symbols of In Another Country by Ernest Hemingway

Literary Analysis of In Another Country by Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway was one of the most celebrated writers of his time and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954. His works include short stories and novels as well as journalism and non-fiction studies. "In Another Country" is a short story by Ernest Hemingway first published in Scribners Magazine in 1927. The story is set in the Italian city of Milan sometime during World War I. The narrator is an American officer who has been wounded at the front lines. As the story opens, he is undergoing rehabilitation at a large Milan hospital. The story explores the themes of war, alienation, and loss through the perspective of a wounded American soldier in Milan.

Literary Analysis Of In Another Country By Ernest Hemingway


The story depicts the harsh realities and consequences of war for the narrator and his fellow soldiers. The narrator's injury has left him with a leg that does not bend anymore, and a machine that is supposed to bend it for him. He describes the machine as "a tricycle" that "lurched" when it reached his knee (Hemingway 268). He is skeptical about its effectiveness, as well as the doctor's optimistic promises that he will be able to play football again after the war. He knows that some of his companions have worse injuries, such as a major who has lost his hand and was once a champion fencer. The contrast between their past lives and their present condition is stark and painful.

The story also contrasts the pleasant city of Milan with the nearby war zone. The narrator enjoys walking across town to the hospital, where he sees game hanging outside shops, roasted chestnuts sold on bridges, and electric lights shining in the dark. He says that "the war seemed as far away as college football does to a man in jail" (Hemingway 267). However, he also knows that he cannot escape from it completely. He hears guns firing in the distance, he sees funerals starting from courtyards, he wears medals that remind him of his bravery and sacrifice. He also has to face different reactions from other soldiers who have different views on the war. Some are optimistic, some are pessimistic, some are cynical. He says that "we all had different medals but we were all a little detached" (Hemingway 269).