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Hemingway’s Trauma Writing in “In Another Country”

Ernest Hemingway, one of the most outstanding American writers, wins worldwide reputation not merely because of his gifted writings but also for his adventurous and life. He has participated in the two World Wars and the Spanish civil war, which provides much raw source for his works. As a critic comments that “his war experience proved so shattering and nightmarish that his life and writings were permanently affected” (Chang Yaoxin 226), war has always been a significant subject for him and has influenced the style and themes of his works. Hemingway’s short story “In Another Country” is based on his experiences in Italy during the First World War. It depicts the life of a wounded American soldier and other Italy officers who receive therapeutic treatment in Milan after returning from the battlefields, demonstrating the war trauma suffered by ordinary soldiers and reflecting Hemingway’s own traumatic experiences brought about by the war. This paper attempts to interpret the story from the perspective of trauma theory, aiming at getting a more comprehensive assessment of Hemingway in a new aspect. Trauma theory can be traced in the end of 19th century, while it came to prominence in the early 1990s when Cathy Caruth published her leading work Unclaimed Experience. Gradually, it has developed itself into a systematic theory under the unremitting efforts made by psychologists and begins to be applied in the literary fields. The definitions of trauma have been explained in various ways, yet the extreme pain and shock are the two defining features of trauma. Caruth defines trauma in a most general way as “a description of an overwhelming experience of sudden or/and catastrophic events in which the response to the event occurs in the often delayed, uncontrolled respective appearance of hallucinations and other intrusive phenomena” (11). In this sense, the numerous physical and psychological pains that...
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