In Another Country

by

Ernest Hemingway

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Medals Symbol Icon

The narrator and three Italian officers his age have all received medals for their exploits during World War I, but the inflexible and misguided concept of bravery that the awards symbolize drives them apart. Although proud of his medal, the narrator says the related papers “really said, with the adjectives removed, that I had been given the medals because I was an American.” This drives a wedge between him and the Italian officers, who “had done very different things to get their medals.” The other officers feel superior to the narrator because their medals commemorate daring feats, while the narrator feels insecure for his lack of proven bravery; as such, they drift apart. The medals, then, represent a rigid notion of courage that separates the “hunting-hawks” from purportedly timid men who are fearful of death. What the medals don’t reflect, Hemingway shows, is that their wartime experiences of death plague all the young men; nor do the medals commemorate the soldiers’ valiant efforts to overcome those fears and heal their scars, both physical and psychological.

Medals Quotes in In Another Country

The In Another Country quotes below all refer to the symbol of Medals. 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

He had lived a very long time with death and was a little detached. We were all a little detached, and there was nothing that held us together except that we met every afternoon at the hospital.

Related Symbols: Medals
Page Number: 207
Explanation and Analysis:

I was a friend, but I was never really one of them after they had read the citations, because it had been different with them and they had done very different things to get their medals.

Related Symbols: Medals
Page Number: 208
Explanation and Analysis:

The three with the medals were like hunting-hawks; and I was not a hawk, although I might seem a hawk to those who had never hunted; they, the three, knew better and so we drifted apart.

Related Symbols: Medals
Page Number: 208
Explanation and Analysis:
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Medals Symbol Timeline in In Another Country

The timeline below shows where the symbol Medals appears in In Another Country. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
In Another Country
Isolation Theme Icon
Courage Theme Icon
All of them have medals, except the boy with no nose because there was no time for him to earn... (full context)
Isolation Theme Icon
Courage Theme Icon
At first the other boys are polite about the narrator’s medals and ask what he did to earn them. He shows them the papers, which, despite... (full context)