In Another Country

by Ernest Hemingway

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What is the main reason Ernest Hemingway wrote "In Another Country"?

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Ernest Hemingway's short story "In Another Country" was first published in the collection Men Without Women and is about men recovering from wounds received in fighting on the Italian front during World War I. Above all, it appears that Hemingway was introducing a new style to fictional writing. His prose is written in a straightforward, journalistic approach, which led one critic to comment that Hemingway's writing was "language sheered to the bone" and Hemingway had carried the art of the reporter to the highest degree (see Hemingway: A Life Without Consequences by James R. Mellow).

While critics seemed to detest Hemingway's characters and plots, they lauded his style. Joseph Wood Krutch called the stories in Men Without Women "sordid little catastrophes in the lives of very vulgar people." Most of the critics, however, agreed that Hemingway's style was new and innovative. Hemingway was also experimenting at this time with his "iceberg theory" or "theory of omission," another idea taken from newspaper reporting where a reporter has little time or space to fill in all the background of a particular story and needs to simply report the facts of the current situation. In "In Another Country," the reader knows very little about the first-person narrator other than that he is an American who has been wounded in the war. Why he is an American fighting in Italy and the exact nature of his wounds are never revealed. The very next story in the collection, "Hills Like White Elephants," may be the most extreme example of this theory.

Another of Hemingway's stated goals was to write "one true sentence," and he seems to have achieved this in the opening sentence of "In Another Country": "In the fall the war was always there, but we did not go to it any more." This sentence, while not giving every detail, is simple and straightforward. Finally, it may just be that Ernest Hemingway had to write. It was in his blood. It was his passion. In an interview with George Plimpton (Paris Review, 1954), Hemingway describes his process for writing, which seems to suggest that what Hemingway was doing was almost like a religion to him:

You have started at six in the morning, say, and may go until noon or be through before that. When you stop you are as empty, and at the same time never empty but filling, as when you have made love to someone you love. Nothing can hurt you, nothing can happen, nothing means anything until the next day when you do it again. It is the wait until the next day that is hard to get through.

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