In Another Country

by

Ernest Hemingway

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The Major Character Analysis

Previously the greatest fencer in Italy, the major’s hand has shrunk down to the size of a baby’s following a wartime injury. He receives treatment from the machines next to the narrator. Though the major humors the doctor’s optimism about his chances for recovery, he confesses to the narrator that he has no confidence in the machines’ ability to heal him. He also tells the narrator he does not believe in bravery and teaches him Italian grammar so that he can communicate more naturally. Later, after his young wife dies suddenly of pneumonia, the major angrily tells the narrator not to marry, and that men should never put themselves in a position to lose anything. Afterward, he apologizes for his rudeness and bears his tears with “soldierly” dignity. He spends his subsequent treatment sessions staring out of the window.

The Major Quotes in In Another Country

The In Another Country quotes below are all either spoken by The Major or refer to The Major. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Isolation Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Scribner edition of In Another Country published in 1987.
In Another Country Quotes

The major came very regularly to the hospital. I do not think he ever missed a day, although I am sure he did not believe in the machines. There was a time when none of us believed in the machines, and one day the major said it was all nonsense.

Related Characters: The Narrator, The Major
Related Symbols: Machines
Page Number: 208
Explanation and Analysis:

If he is to lose everything, he should not place himself in a position to lose that. He should not place himself in a position to lose. He should find things he cannot lose.

Related Characters: The Major (speaker), The Narrator
Page Number: 209
Explanation and Analysis:

He looked straight past me and out through the window. Then he began to cry. "I am utterly unable to resign myself,” he said and choked. And then crying, his head up looking at nothing, carrying himself straight and soldierly, with tears on both his cheeks and biting his lips, he walked past the machines and out the door.

Related Characters: The Major (speaker), The Narrator
Related Symbols: Machines
Page Number: 209
Explanation and Analysis:

When he came back, there were large framed photographs around the wall, of all sorts of wounds before and after they had been cured by the machines. In front of the machine the major used were three photographs of hands like his that were completely restored. I do not know where the doctor got them. I always understood we were the first to use the machines. The photographs did not make much difference to the major because he only looked out of the window.

Related Characters: The Narrator, The Major, The Doctor
Related Symbols: Machines, Photographs
Page Number: 210
Explanation and Analysis:
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In Another Country PDF

The Major Character Timeline in In Another Country

The timeline below shows where the character The Major appears in In Another Country. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
In Another Country
Loss, War, and Trauma Theme Icon
In the machine next to the narrator is the major , whose hand has shrunk to the size of a baby’s. The major asks, winking... (full context)
Isolation Theme Icon
Courage Theme Icon
The major does not believe in bravery. He spends a lot of time teaching the narrator Italian... (full context)
Isolation Theme Icon
Loss, War, and Trauma Theme Icon
Courage Theme Icon
The major goes to the hospital very regularly—in fact, he never misses a day even though he... (full context)
Isolation Theme Icon
Loss, War, and Trauma Theme Icon
The major asks the narrator what he plans to do when he returns home after the war,... (full context)
Isolation Theme Icon
Loss, War, and Trauma Theme Icon
Courage Theme Icon
The major calls for an attendant to turn off the machine, which is still bashing his hand... (full context)
Isolation Theme Icon
Loss, War, and Trauma Theme Icon
The doctor explains to the narrator that the major ’s wife was very young, and he had delayed marrying her until his injury took... (full context)