In His “in Another Country,” How Does Ernest Hemingway Convey The Narrator’s Suspicion About The Machines?

In his “In Another Country,” how does Ernest Hemingway convey the narrator’s suspicion about the machines?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The suspicion against technology's ability to solve man's problems is a salient trait of Moderism to which Hemingway, of course, was an adherent. Therefore, in his short story, the pictures of the machines do little to inspire hope in the injured soldiers who face uncertainty, bewilderment, and lack of meaning in their lives.

As the wounded soldiers are treated with theraupetic machinery, the narrator speaks with the doctor, who assures him that his knee will be healed and he will "play football again like a champion." On another machine, a former fencer, an Italian major, has his shriveled hand strapped and a machine bounces it up and down. Even when the doctor goes to his office and returns with pictures of success stories of men regaining the use of their hands or legs, and he asks the major, "You have confidence?" the major replies, "No."

The narrator says, 

We were all a little detached, and there was nothing that held us together except that we met every afternoon at the hospital...we felt held together by there being something that had happened that they, the people who disliked us, did not understand.

The machines come to symbolize the false hopes and promises  of the modern age. The narrator's suspicion of these machines is conveyed in his descriptions of the major's case.  While the machine works upon his injured hand, the major merely looks out the window. Like the narrator, he is detached. Nevertheless, as the code hero, he goes through the motions; he adheres to the form required of him despite meaninglessness. 

 

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