In Another Country

by Ernest Hemingway
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What is the main conflict, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution of the story "In Another Country" by Ernest Hemingway?

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The main conflict in this story, in general, is the struggle of the soldiers in dealing with the traumatic experiences of the war. The more particular conflict with the American (the narrator) includes the experience of the war but also focuses on his feelings of inadequacy and alienation. He feels that his friends are more worthy of their medals than he is of his own. He is, of course, "in another country" and perhaps feels an even greater sense of alienation because of that. He looks to the major for some wisdom or hope, but the major is largely cynical.

The rising action deals mainly with the American's interaction with the major. Although it is not explicitly stated, the American seems to be looking for a bit of hope or some kind of way to put the war, and a return to normal life, into a decent perspective. The dialogue becomes more intense when the major warns the American to avoid marriage. He loses his temper at the climax. The American realizes that the major is overcome with cynicism and grief. With the falling action, the American learns that the major has lost his wife. The American continues to observe the major, who keeps using the machines despite his inability to believe in or hope for a recovery.

So, what is the resolution? The story ends with this seemingly depressing scene. On one hand, the major seems completely inconsolable. On the other hand, given that he continues to use the machines, he shows great perseverance. Perhaps the American thinks this is bravery: to keep trying even if you think a situation is hopeless. This might also be a comment on the war itself. Soldiers go to war, no matter how hopeless the situation is. Is it bravery or futility? (Or both?) The resolution of the story is the American trying to understand all of this. The ending is ambiguous, and this makes it difficult and interesting to come up with an interpretation.

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Because "In Another Country" is a work of Modernism, a movement that eschewed traditional short story structure, the story lacks an exposition, and arguably, a conclusion.  Modernist stories sought to capture the fragmentary nature of life in the recent aftermath of WWI. But, to answer the question:

Main conflict: Injured soldiers have a difficult time coming to terms with their personal losses in a war that had an extremely depersonalizing effect on its veterans.

Rising action: The narrator and the other injured soldiers come to doubt that the physical therapy machines will heal their physical injuries and find the assurances of the doctors that they will be "better than ever" to be hollow.

Climax:  The major erupts, "Don't argue with me!" He removes his withered hand from the physical therapy machine and demands that the attendant turn it off. His outburst is fueled by the conversation about whether a man should marry, because he has just lost his wife.

Falling action: The falling action is found in the major's tragic declaration, "I cannot resign myself," as his final words about his emotional state in the wake of losing his wife (in addition to all else he last lost).

Resolution: Because this is a Modernist story, there isn't really a tidy resolution. Readers are instead left with the disquieting feeling that the men at the Milan clinic will continue to live with their disillusionment and devastation.

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You are looking for a basic plot diagram, which enotes does beautifully.  Take a look at the study guide for "In Another Country" for characters, plot, analysis, and other information which will enhance your reading pleasure and comprehension.


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