In Hemingway's short story "In Another Country," why does the major say that the narrator must not marry?
In the short story In Another Country, the major said a man must never marry. The main reason he said this was because he was a soldier. His concern was twofold. If he were married in wartime, he would have two worries. One is that he would be distracted in battle, thinking about leaving his wife all alone if he were to die. This would cause distraction, which could easily lead to his death.
The other reason he said a man should never marry is because of a fear of loss. The major is terrified of losing someone he loves, and says so.
This whole thing is ironic in the long run, because he marries a woman much younger than him so that he would not have to worry about losing her. He waits until he is out of the war to get married, for the above reason. He figured he would die first, being the much older person. The irony comes when she dies of illness, leaving him alone. All of those plans to keep from losing the person her loved were pointless.
Signor Maggiore says that a man must not marry because he risks losing his wife. He mentions that if a man were to get married, there is a possibility that the married man will lose his wife. The major insists that if a man is to lose everything, he should not place himself in the position to also lose his wife. Signor Maggiore's comments are profound because the reader and the narrator assume that the major's advice relates to the possibility of a soldier dying in war. A soldier's death would inevitably affect the man's wife. The major may also be referring to the fear of a soldier losing his wife while he is stationed away during a war. There is always the possibility of a soldier's wife becoming disinterested or unwilling to carry on the relationship because of stress and long distance. Ironically, the major takes these precautions and waits until after the war to get married, only to have his wife die from pneumonia.