Published in 1926, the short story “In Another Country” by Ernest Hemingway is set in Milan, Italy, most probably during World War I (Hemingway fought in World War I).
The physical setting of Milan is depicted in detail by the narrator, constructing the overall unwelcoming autumn atmosphere:
There was much game hanging outside the shops, and the snow powdered in the fur of the foxes and the wind blew their tails. The deer hung stiff and heavy and empty, and small birds blew in the wind and the wind turned their feathers. It was a cold fall and the wind came down from the mountains. (p. 1, ll. 3-7)
The unfriendly weather helps further suggest feelings of isolation through the setting, which gains a symbolical meaning.
The social setting in the short story is equally important as it illustrates the condition of the foreigner, Italian society in World War I, the traumas of soldiers as well as medical experimentation on human subjects.
The American narrator is a foreigner in Milan and consequently feels rejected and different from the rest of society. Furthermore, not only is he a foreigner, but he also belongs to a hated group in society, officers: “We walked the short way through the communist quarter because we were four together. The people hated us because we were officers, and from a wine-shop someone called out, "A basso gli ufficiali!" as we passed.” (p. 2, ll. 5-7)