In the story "In Another Country," why does the narrator frequently mention the machines?

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The machines represent the indifference of the "war machine" to what occurs to the individual men who suffer from its horrors, as well as suggesting the dehumanizing effects of war.

As a proponent of Modernism, Hemingway held a suspicion of technology's ability to solve man's problems. In "Another Country" the pictures of the machines do little to inspire hope in the soldiers who have been injured. They feel only that they face uncertainty, alienation, and a lack of meaning in their lives. They have no confidence that any machine can return them to what they once were, either physically or psychologically. The narrator, an American in the Italian hospital comments,

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 indifferent machines represent the sense of alienation from which the men who do "not go to the war any more" suffer. For the major, who has injured his great fencing hand and lost his young wife, there is only a terrible sense of isolation as a sort of existential suffering. As the mechanical apparatus that the major views as worthless massages his withered hand, he merely looks out the window, detached from anything. He goes through the motions, adhering to the form required of him as a soldier and a man despite its meaninglessness and his being "...utterly unable to resign myself."

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