Summary (Masterplots II: Short Story Series, Revised Edition)
Ernest Hemingway’s “In Another Country” describes the relationships that develop in Milan among an American and five Italian soldiers who have been wounded and are receiving physical therapy. The story is told from the perspective of the American. The townspeople, with the exception of the café girls, resent the young men because they are officers; this resentment, in addition to the young soldiers’ war experiences, sets them apart from the street life in Milan.
Within their group, however, there are also differences. The American has received a medal for his accidental war injury. Three young Italians from near Milan, in contrast to the American, have received wounds and medals because of bravery in battle. Another young Italian from a good family was wounded after only one hour on the front line. The American feels close to this young man because his bravery could not be tested. After cocktails, the American thinks that he might have done all the things that the Italians did to receive their citations. However, he knows that he “would never have done such things” and acknowledges that he is “very much afraid to die.”
All the wounded men go to the hospital every afternoon to use machines for physical therapy. The doctor assures the American that he will again play football even though his knee does not bend. An Italian major, who used to be the greatest fencer in Italy before he was wounded, befriends the American, assisting...
(The entire section is 329 words.)
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‘‘In the fall the war was always there, but we did not go to it anymore.’’ So begins Ernest Hemingway’s short story, ‘‘In Another Country.’’ The war he refers to is World War I; the setting is Milan, away from the scene of the fighting. The narrator describes the city he passes on his way to the hospital to receive physical rehabilitation for the leg wounds he received while at the front. Though the narrator remains unnamed, scholars generally agree the young man is Hemingway’s alter ego, Nick Adams.
At the hospital, the narrator, a young man, sits at a machine designed to aid his damaged knee. Next to him is an Italian major, a champion fencer before the war, whose hand has been wounded. The doctor shows the major a photograph of a hand that has been restored by the machine the major is using. The photo, however, does not increase the major’s confidence in the machine.
Three Milanese soldiers, the same age as the narrator, are then introduced. The four boys hang out together at a place called Cafe Cova following their therapy. As they walk through the city’s Communist quarter, they are criticized for being officers with medals. A fifth boy, who lost his nose an hour after his first battle, sometimes joins them. He wears a black handkerchief strategically placed across his face and has no medals.
One of the boys who has three medals has
lived a very long time with death and...
(The entire section is 846 words.)