Style and Technique (Masterplots II: Short Story Series, Revised Edition)
Hemingway tells the story from the point of view of the young American, but in the objective or pseudo-third person. By telling the story from the American’s point of view yet not making him the narrator, Hemingway manages to objectify and distance the surface of the narrative without affecting the intimacy established between the reader and the American.
The restraint with which the characters experience and voice their emotions is reinforced by the stylistic restraints that Hemingway imposes on his narrative. The central issue of the story, that courage is necessary for life as well as death, is not revealed until the end, when the doctor explains the tragedy of the death of the major’s young wife. The major’s intense grief at his wife’s death is conveyed by language that avoids labeling the emotion he feels: “The photographs did not make much difference to the major because he only looked out of the window.” The American may or may not understand the major’s bitter loss, but the reader inevitably perceives the major’s emotional wound and his courage in not giving up.
Hemingway uses images to suggest the feelings of his characters; the emotions of the characters are conveyed indirectly by what they see. The mood or tone of the story is established in the first paragraph, in which the dead game outside the shops is described as “stiff,” “heavy,” and “empty.” The American’s awareness of death controls the way he...
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Ernest Hemingway’s story ‘‘In Another Country’’ takes place in a war hospital in Milan during World War I. The war began in 1914 when Archduke Franz Ferdinand, a member of the Hapsburg family, the rulers of what was then known as the Austro-Hungarian empire, was assassinated while on an official state visit to the city of Sarajevo in Bosnia. His killer was a young Bosnian Serb, Gavrilo Princip, a member of a secret underground organization who protested the Austro-Hungarian empire’s claim over their country. When the Austro-Hungarians demanded entrance to Bosnia so they could find and then bring to trial Ferdinand’s assassin, the Bosnian government refused, insisting they would conduct their own investigation. The Austro-Hungarians then declared war on Bosnia. Quickly, Germany allied with the Austro-Hungarian empire, while Russia France and Great Britain allied with Bosnia, with Italy soon to follow.
The United States joined World War I at the end of 1917. A German submarine had torpedoed a British passenger ship, the Lusitania, claiming it secretly carried American munitions aboard. The United States denied this, but joined the fray when the British and French requested their assistance. Most American...
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Point of View
All of the events that occur in ‘‘In Another Country’’ are told from the point of view of the story’s unnamed narrator, an American officer receiving physical therapy in a Milan hospital on his leg, which has been wounded at the front during World War I. The narrator is a young man, presumably about 19, the same age as the author when he also spent time in a Milan hospital, recovering from leg injuries received while working as an ambulance driver for the Red Cross. The events are filtered through the narrator’s perspective, therefore the first person ‘‘T’’ is used throughout. How these events affect the narrator, particularly those which are written about in the greatest detail, like the major’s disillusionment following the death of his wife, is not directly revealed. However, it is apparent that what he has witnessed has made a strong impact on him because he has chosen to recount the story so vividly. Readers may assume it is an older narrator who is telling the story, as it is written in the past tense.
One of the most distinctive aspects of this story, and most of Hemingway’s literature, particularly his many stories about this same narrator—unnamed here, but known as Nick Adams elsewhere—is its objective tone. Though the story is told from the narrator’s perspective, how they affect him is never made explicit. Instead, each of the events is...
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Topics for Further Study
- Explain the multiple meanings of the title of the short story ‘‘In Another Country.’’
- Write about a time when you were alienated from those around you because of a physical injury, language barrier, or other circumstances. Relate this to what the protagonist of ‘‘In Another Country’’ experiences.
- Read a book or short story about a soldier in the Vietnam War such as Dispatches by Michael Herr or In Pharaoh’s Army by Tobias Wolff. Compare the attitudes expressed by one of those writers toward the Vietnam war to Hemingway’s as expressed in one of his works set during World War I such as ‘‘In Another Country’’ or A Farewell to Arms.
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- Hemingway’s Adventures of a Young Man is a film which assimilates the author’s Nick Adams stories into a single narrative. Adapted by A. E. Hotchner, directed by Martin Ritt, starring Richard Beymer (best known as Tony in the film musical West Side Story) as Nick, produced by DeLuxe, 1962.
- The Killers begins as a nearly word-by-word film adaptation of the Nick Adams story of the same name. In the story, Nick is in a diner as two killers come in looking for a man called Andersson. The film then segues into an original drama about Andersson. Nick is featured in one of these later scenes. Screenplay by Anthony Veiller, directed by Richard Siodmak (Academy Award nomination, best director), starring Burt Lancaster (film debut), Edmond O’Brien, and Ava Gardner. U-I, 1946.
- The film In Love and War chronicles 19 year-old Hemingway’s recovery in an Italian hospital from the wounds he received driving an ambulance during World War I. The film focuses on his love affair with a 26 year-old nurse, the woman who is said to have inspired the character Catherine Barkeley in Hemingway’s novel A Farewell to Arms. Chris O’Donnell plays the young Hemingway; Sandra Bullock portrays the nurse. Richard Attenborough directed. A New Line Cinema release, 1996.
- Hemingway’s novel A Farewell to Arms, a fictional version of the same love affair featured in In...
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What Do I Read Next?
- The Nick Adams Stories (1969) is a collection of all of Hemingway’s stories, including ‘‘In Another Country,’’ featuring Nick Adams, some of which had been previously published in other collections. Eight stories had never been published, some of which are unfinished.
- The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories (1927) is a collection of short stories by Ernest Hemingway including ‘‘In Another Country.’’
- Ernest Hemingway: A Life Story (1969), by Carlos Baker, is a well-known biography of the author.
- All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque, is a classic anti-war novel chronicling the fates of several young German men who eagerly enlist in World War I. Originally published in the United States in 1929.
- What We Talk About When We Talk About Love (1980) is one of several short story collections by Raymond Carver. His stories, written primarily in the 1970s and 1980s, have often been compared stylistically to Hemingway’s.
- Exile’s Return (1934), by Malcolm Cowley, recounts experiences of the expatriate writers, including Hemingway, in 1920s Europe...
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Bibliography and Further Reading
Baker, Carlos, ed. Ernest Hemingway: Selected Letters, 1917-1961. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1981, p. 948.
Irwin, Richard. “‘Of War Wounds, and Silly Machines’: An Examination of Hemingway’s ‘In Another Country.’” In The Serif, Vol. V, No. 2, June, 1968, pp. 21-29.
Mast, Gerald. A Short History of the Movies, 2nd ed. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Educational Publishing, 1978, p. 575.
Robinson, Forrest. ‘‘Hemingway’s Invisible Hero in ‘In Another Country.’” In Essay in Literature, Vol. XV, No. 2, Fall, 1988, pp. 237-44.
Rovit, Earl. ‘‘Of Human Dignity: ‘In Another Country.’” In The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway: Critical Essays, edited by Jackson J. Benson. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 1975, pp. 58-68.
Steinke, James. ‘‘Hemingway’s ‘In Another Country’ and ‘Now I Lay Me.’” In The Hemingway Review, Vol. V, No. 1, Fall, 1985.
Baker, Carlos, ed. Ernest Hemingway: Selected Letters, 1917-1961. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1981, p. 948. Collection of letters written by Hemingway to family members, friends, and colleagues including prominent literary figures as F. Scott Fitzgerald Archibald MacLeish, and John Dos Passos, as...
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Bibliography (Masterplots II: Short Story Series, Revised Edition)
Benson, Jackson J., ed. New Critical Approaches to the Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1990.
Berman, Ronald. Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and the Twenties. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2001.
Bloom, Harold, ed. Ernest Hemingway. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2005.
Burgess, Anthony. Ernest Hemingway. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1999.
Flora, Joseph M. Ernest Hemingway: A Study of the Short Fiction. Boston: Twayne, 1989.
Hays, Peter L. Ernest Hemingway. New York: Continuum, 1990.
Hotchner, A. E. Papa Hemingway: A Personal Memoir. New ed. New York: Carroll & Graf, 1999.
Meyers, Jeffrey. Hemingway: A Biography. 1985. Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1999.
Padura Fuentes, Leonardo. Adiós Hemingway. Translated by John King. New York: Canongate, 2005.
Reynolds, Michael. The Young Hemingway. New York: Blackwell, 1986.
Reynolds, Michael. Hemingway: The Paris Years. New York: Blackwell, 1989.
Reynolds, Michael. Hemingway: The Homecoming. New York: W. W. Norton, 1999.
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