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In the exposition of "In Another Country," Hemingway's narrator opens by expressing his detachment as he explains that he and the other patients "did not go to [the war] anymore." Instead, they meet at a new brick pavilion and sit in the machines "that were to make so much difference." While the narrator sits at a machine that bends his knee to make it move as if he were riding a tricycle, and the major is connected to a machine that will supposedly repair his damaged hand. However, although the doctor tells the narrator that he will play football again and the major that he will be able to resume his skillful fencing, they have no faith in the doctor's words.
The machines are an empty promise to the soldier that forces outside of himself can repair damages. However, the soldiers have seen that the machines of war have not effected any significant change in the world. Instead, they have wrought a meaninglessness represented by the slaughtered animals that hang outside the shops in the first paragraph.
The major came very regularly to the hospital. I do not think he missed a day, although I am sure he did not believe in the machines.
The major declares the new machines an "idiotic idea, ...a theory, like another [that of war]." After his wife dies, another terrible loss, the major declares, "I am utter unable to resign myself." His statement is reflective of the others who sense a meaningless to life that no machine of their time can alter.
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