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Before the times war, many cannot imagine what might be inflicted upon themselves. In the case of the young men in Ernest Hemingway’s In Another Country, they have cope with the loss of body parts or with the infliction of devastating wounds. In the narrator’s case, he has to deal with the loss of his leg and has to deal with therapeutic machinery. For instance, the narrator writes, “My knee did not bend and the leg dropped straight…the machine was to bend the knee and make it move as in riding a tricycle.” Our narrator was able to play football before the war, and now he simply cannot. The narrator points to other people who have been changed by the war. He points out a former fencer, Italy’s greatest fencer, who had injured his dominant hand. He also points to who he considers “hunting-hawks”, people whose pride depends on the very medals they earn. In addition, these young men’s lives have been changed by the war because the townspeople now hate them. It is ironic because the soldiers have fought for their own country, but are instead receiving hate and ill will from their own neighbors.
Out of the many encounters with life and death, the narrator describes himself and his fellow soldiers as detached. By saying detached, the narrator could mean that they have lost touch with society for having been out in the front for a long time. Being detached could also reflect on the numerous accounts of close death the soldiers have had. The many encounters may have started to inflict some sort of mental affect upon all the soldiers. The narrator could also physically imply the word detached. He mentions how the townspeople hates them because they were officers. Due to this hostility, they feel detached from the norms of society.
Medals are an indication that one has served time in a war. Medals are often displayed as items to be proud of. The narrator does not seem to fervidly display his medals. He is aware that he has them, but he does not display them for everyone to see. That may be because he simply got a medal for being “American.” The narrator considers himself to be different from those he calls “hunting hawks” although he also had medals. He considers them to be soldiers who brag about the medals, while he himself does not think very much of them. This is why he explains his behavior as he drifts apart from them. Our narrator seems to follow behind the Italian major, who was Italy’s greatest fencer. The narrator is drawn towards the major who does not believe in bravery.
Several types of loss are depicted within the story, In Another Country. The story catalogues a loss of body parts, of the past, of respect, and of loved ones. In the narrator’s, the black silk bandaged boy, and the major’s case, they have all experienced a loss of body parts. They have lost, respectively, a leg, a face, and a hand, each being important to himself. In addition, the soldiers have lost what respect they had from the people. The narrator states “The people hated us because we were officers.” This goes to how isolated and despised the officers were by the people. The soldiers can never go back to the past because many of them have been deeply tainted by the war at present. Near the end of the story, the major’s loss is striking. The major had apparently waited until the war was over to marry his beloved, only to find out she had died days ago from pneumonia. The loss of a loved one seems to be the most serious and hardest to overcome. This is depicted through the change in the major’s emotional behavior. The major first appeared as stiff and cynical, as he thought the he was receiving treatment as incompetent. However, after he had learned of his wife’s death, he was hysterical and depressed. He did not look forward to the therapeutic treatments as he only “looked out of the window”, which depicts his aloofness and depression.
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