Critical Overview

(Short Stories for Students)

Hemingway’s spare, objective style has been widely imitated and adapted by many other writers. His choice of material, and his stoic, masculine way of dealing with issues of life, death, and love in a troubled, often violent world has made him a controversial figure. Though many admire his sparse prose, suggesting it reveals the inner workings of his macho male heroes, a share of scholars, feminists in particular, have criticized his work, arguing that rather than illuminating and critiquing the he-men behavior of his characters, he is, instead, embracing, even sentimentalizing it. They also complain that his female characters have less dimension than his male characters, and that they generally fall into two stereotypical categories, the saintly and the whorish, showing an underlying dislike of women in general. Hemingway supporters counter that he adores the women he writes about, almost to the point of idealization.

His short story, ‘‘In Another Country’’ is one of his most popular; it is also one of his most anthologized. Like much of Hemingway’s work, it has been written about at great length. Forrest Robinson in his article ‘‘Hemingway’s Invisible Hero,’’ published on Essays in Literature argues against the notion that the story’s narrator is not ‘‘merely passive in his painful acceptance of his lack of bravery, and is respectful in his observance of the [Italian] major’s resignation to despair.’’ He goes on to say that the narrator is not really the story’s protagonist, which many assume, but that the Italian major is.

‘‘In Another Country’’ is widely...

(The entire section is 669 words.)