Short Story #228: In Another Country by Ernest Hemingway
Title: In Another Country
Author: Ernest Hemingway
SummarySoldiers recovering from war are in Milan making their daily trips to the hospital. Each day, they needed to cross a bridge to get there and selected the one with woman who sold roasted chestnuts on the bridge. The narrator explains that one day when he appeared, the doctor assured him that he would someday be able to play football again, despite his knee not being able to bend. Each soldier is hooked up to a machine to help help recover. When someone else asks about their recovery, the doctor fetches a picture of before and after picture of a recovered limb. The soldiers would walk together to and from the hospital because they were often disliked by some of the residents. One of the soliders would convince everyone to wear black handkerchiefs around their face as a group to hid his missing nose. The narrator discusses the reasons for different soldiers who have or haven't received medals. When he explains to his soldiers that he largely got a medal for being an America, his fellow soldiers largely stop being friendly, except out of necessity. In losing this kinship, he begins to have more conversations with a major who also attends the hospital. The major inquires about his plans after the war and the narrator mentions getting married. The major tells him to forget it and to never take up things he can lose--that the war should have taught him that. The major leaves but when he returns he explains that he had just found out that his wife had died. He begins to cry. The narrator learns that the man had married her after he had returned with his injury. The major begins to wear the black band in honor of his dead wife and now just looks out the window.
ReflectionThere's a lot to digest in this short story--but it's Hemingway, so that's to be expected. The relations and the rankings among the soldiers was fascinating as was the narrator's remark about not having been a true hawk like the other soldiers but could easily be confused as a hawk by those that do not hunt.
Short Story #228 out of 365
Rating: 4 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read: 7/20/2014
Source: The short story can be found at this website.
For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.
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