To the major, the machinery in "In Another Country" represents the war machine and man's dependency upon something mechanical that can fail him.
The Italian major, who was once a fencing champion, now has a withered hand that is useless to him. He comes to the hospital every day, but he does not believe in the power of the machines to rehabilitate his withered hand. One day he expresses his lack of faith in the machines as he "said it was all nonsense." These machines are a new concept for therapy, and the major declares that the use of them is "an idiotic idea,...a theory, like another." Nevertheless, the major comes every day to the hospital because he can no longer go to war and his routine of therapy on the machines at least establishes some order in his life. Also, he likes the American who, like him, is injured. To give himself some purpose, the major teaches the American, who can converse in Italian, correct grammar so that he will have better form.
After his young wife dies of pneumonia, the major is out for three days. When he returns he goes on the machine for his hand, but he ignores the photographs of restored hands and simply looks out the windows.