Themes and message

The main themes of the short story “In Another Country” by Ernest Hemingway are war, courage and fear, and isolation and rejection. The author’s intention was to depict the way World War I changed the soldiers who took part in the conflagration, both physically and psychologically and to raise awareness of how traumatic such an event can be.


The theme of war is explored in the short story by reference to a real historical event, World War I, and from the perspective of soldiers who took part in it. The story is set during the war, and it follows recovering soldiers in a hospital in Milan, while “the war was always there” (p. 1, l. 1). Although the characters are no longer on the battlefield, they are always reminded of the war through their physical injuries, their medals and civilians’ attitudes towards them.


Courage vs. Fear

The theme of courage versus fear is explored in the short story through the contrast between the Italian soldiers and the American one.


Isolation & Rejection

Isolation and rejection are illustrated in three ways in the short story. Firstly, the narrator presents the way Italian society rejects and despises soldiers whom it cannot understand, compelling them to befriend each other and form a group of their own, isolated from the rest:


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