Why is the narrator in Milan in Ernest Hemingway's "In Another Country?"

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teachersage eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The American narrator of "In Another Country" had gone to Europe to fight in World War I. He is in Milan, Italy, now, to get physical therapy and rehab for a war wound. He goes every day to a hospital that specializes in treating injured soldiers. He describes his injury and physical therapy as follows:

My knee did not bend and the leg dropped straight from the knee to the ankle without a calf, and the machine was to bend the knee and make it move as riding a tricycle. But it did not bend yet, and instead the machine lurched when it came to the bending part. The doctor said:" That will all pass. You are a fortunate young man. You will play football again like a champion." 

He meets other wounded soldiers there, such as a man who lost his nose and had to have it reconstructed, though it will it will never look the same as before.

Like the others in the hospital, the narrator's physical wound is representative of the deeper psychological wounds they have all suffered--no matter what physical treatment they get, none of them will be the same. The narrator himself is alienated and numbed from his experiences and can only speak in a flat, detached way of his life in Milan. Today we would probably say he is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Even if he can go back to the United States and play football again, it clearly will never be the same for him again because of his psychic wounds.  

Payal Khullar eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The unnamed narrator in Ernest Hemingway’s much popular short story In Another Country is an American man who serves as a soldier during the First World War in Italy. While fighting in the war, the narrator gets a severe injury on his knee. Actually, he gets wounded accidently and not because of a heroic act in the war. In any case, he is given a few bravery medals and is sent to Milan, Italy to take rest as well as to recover from this physical injury. Thus, he is in Milan for rehabilitation. The narrator, along with five injured Italian soldiers, receives some physical therapy treatment with the help of machines in a local hospital in Milan. Although he goes to the hospital daily in the afternoon to get the treatment done, he has little faith in the medical machines.

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In Another Country

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