In Another Country


Ernest Hemingway

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on In Another Country can help.

Photographs Symbol Analysis

Photographs Symbol Icon

Photographs makes a brief appearance at the end of the story and symbolize meaningless wartime propaganda. While undergoing treatment at a hospital in Milan, Italy, the doctor shows the major photographs of other injuries that the machines have (allegedly) already healed—injuries that are similar to the major’s own withered hand. However, the doctor’s attempt to convince the major that he can make a successful recovery fall flat, reflecting Hemingway’s own scornful view of wartime propaganda. The major politely humors the doctor’s optimism, but remains openly skeptical. The narrator also sees through the doctor’s pretense, as he notes he and the other officers were “the first to use the machines,” and so doubts the photographs’ authenticity. In the last line of the story, after the major’s young wife has died, the narrator says the photographs (now hanging on the wall) “did not make much difference to the major because he only looked out of the window.” Ultimately, the doctor’s efforts to motivate the major fail because they are irrelevant to the root cause of his suffering, a direct critique of misguided wartime propaganda.

Photographs Quotes in In Another Country

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

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:
Get the entire In Another Country LitChart as a printable PDF.
In Another Country PDF

Photographs Symbol Timeline in In Another Country

The timeline below shows where the symbol Photographs 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
...again too. He had been Italy’s greatest fencer before the war. The doctor retrieves a photograph from his office. It shows a withered hand, like the major’s own, which after treatment... (full context)
Isolation Theme Icon
Loss, War, and Trauma Theme Icon
...after three days, wearing a black armband over his uniform. The doctor has placed framed photographs of wounds the machines have successfully healed on the walls of the treatment room. The... (full context)