In the story “Hills Like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemmingway, there is an apparent power imbalance between the two main characters. The man in the story is either referred to as the American or the man, while the woman is referred to as the girl. When referring to someone as “the man” Hemingway is implying that he is an adult. While the word “girl” implies that she is a child. This is evidence that the girl is younger than the man or is seen as more immature which results in the man having a significant role of responsibility over the girl. The man has more experience; therefore, he controls the girl in many ways and he treats her unfairly because he does not want a child. The Man thinks his opinion is the only opinion that matters. …show more content…
The man states, "It's really an awfully simple operation, Jig" (Hemingway 230). The operation would not have been simple; instead it would have been awfully difficult and risky procedure. During the 1920s, abortion was a very taboo subject and was not readily available in all locations. Many of the clinics available had questionable conditions which could result in many things going wrong during the abortion procedure. Some of the possible negative consequences of abortions at this time were heavy bleeding, an increased risk of infections, or possibly death. He says it is simple because he wants her to agree to the operation not because he thinks that it is simple. The girl says, “everything tastes of licorice,” meaning that everything going on is bitter-sweet. She is implying that the sex was great; however, they should have waited to have a baby (Hemingway 230). The guy …show more content…
The girl is not paying for this trip. This is inferred because the guy in the story is referred to as “the man” and the female is called “the girl” (Hemingway 229). This suggests that the man is older, therefore, better-off than the girl because she is younger, suggesting that she is weak. The girl wants to keep the baby, this is shown by the way she does not want to talk about the abortion. However, the man does not want the baby because he turns to get her to have the abortion. The man answers, “I think it's the best thing to do. But I don't want you to do it if you don't really want to” (Hemingway 231). The man thinks she should have the abortion just because, he wants her to. He just does not want to think about any other plan because he does not want the baby he has made. The girl replies, “And if I do it you'll be happy and things will be like they were and you'll love me” (Hemingway 231)? The girl does not want to have the abortion; however, she wants to make her man happy because she has no other person she can rely on. The man wants their life to go back to normal, which is having sex and trying new drinks, however, the girl wants to settle down and start a family. The man does not want to lose his girlfriend because she is his source of fun; however, he does not want the baby and will do anything to try and talk her into having the
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The man she is with keeps pushing her to make a life-changing decision about an abortion and she says, “I realize… Can’t we maybe stop talking?,” (Hemingway 3). Including this issue specifically is bold for Hemingway as it is controversial, yet he crafts it to bring even more attention to the Girl’s rights and intentionally characterizes her with this strong will and independence. She later threatens to scream, demonstrating that the Girl is unafraid to bring attention to this altercation. Hemingway provides the Girl with a voice that many women did not have. The man craves authority and manipulates her by saying, “I think [getting the abortion is] the best thing to do.
Oday Alyatim Gender Studies Prof Qualls Hills Like White Elephants In the short story Hills Like White Elephants by Ernest Hemingway, the characters Jig and the man are out on vacation traveling from Barcelona to Madrid through train. While at the train station, they experience began talking about an operation, how they discuss getting this operation shows the strong gender roles between Jig and the man.
If analyzed in a more generic view, the short story can be used to show how a male and female stereotypically understand a subject. The American speaks more literal and materialistic as Jig is seen to speak in a more figurative and abstract manner. Ernest Hemingway’s use of symbolism gives the reader a more visual effect to the conflict between the man and the girl as well as the idea of their inner thoughts. The white rounded hills, the beads on the curtain hanging from the bar’s doorframe, and the cool shade and blazing light all represent different aspects of the two choices that the American and the girl have to decide on, just like the railroad tracks on either side of the
Throughout the short story (1), “Hills Like White Elephants,” Ernest Hemingway is speaking about a seemingly unwanted pregnancy and a woman’s uneasiness with going through an abortion. However, Hemingway never explicitly says in this work of fiction (2) that it is about abortion or that the woman, Jig, is uncomfortable with it, but uses symbolism (3) to present this to the audience. At the time “Hills like White Elephants” was published, in 1927, abortion was illegal in most places and a very taboo subject that wasn’t to be openly discussed in public. Thus, Hemingway relied greatly upon the use of symbolism to get his message across for this reason as well as the third person narrator (4) that did not give insight into the character’s thoughts within this piece of literature (5) . He uses symbols such as the train station, white hills, the baggage, and the drinks to point towards the underlying internal conflict (6) of Jig’s decision that is being heavily influenced by the American man, who wants Jig to get the abortion.
If taken literally, Hemingway’s story is one in which very little happens. The story takes place in a train station in Spain where a couple argue about a vague event over drinks. From the very start of the short story, there is an overbearing uneasiness felt in the text as the unnamed male and the girl, Jig, hold what seems to be—on the surface—an innocent conversation. By using a limiting third person point of view that consists mostly of dialogue, Hemingway creates an obstacle in the way of understanding as there is no clear insight to what is going on inside of either party’s head. The conflict that the pair seem to be discussing is never named and it becomes the metaphorical elephant in the room much like the white elephants that Jig sees in the mountains.
If we observe their relationship, it seems like it is not going too well either. With attention to Jig’s view and the man’s view we can say that they both have a different attitude towards the abortion and their relationship. Remarkably, the girl’s thoughts change through their conversation. Renner divides the stages of the decision-making process into four – what he calls – ‘movements’. (28)
In the short story “Hills Like White Elephants,” by Ernest Hemingway, there is a relationship unfolding, a complex relationship difficult to understand. The relationship is revealed by a conversation between a man and a woman, a topic of conversation that people rarely discussed in the period that the story was set. After researching interpretations, it is consistently said “She is pregnant, and he wants her to have an abortion” (Weeks 76), to which I agree that this conversation is about abortion. With the man seemingly pushing the topic and the girl hesitant and questionable, it is unsure as to the result of their conversation. However, it is my belief that she chose to follow her heart and not get the abortion.
The struggles presented between these two characters bring to light issues in human relationships that weigh into everyday life. Hemingway’s short story reveals to readers how relationships affect communication, decision
“On [one] side there was no shade and no trees” this side of the train station represents what life would be like if she would not have the baby. Her life would be like “the dry side of the valley” (Hemingway 923, 926). “On the other side [of the valley] were fields of grain and trees along the banks of Ebro. Far away, beyond the
The conflict between the two characters is the issue of abortion and whether or not the girl will go through it. Hemingway does not tell us that the girl is pregnant but hints it throughout the story referring to “the operation” as having an abortion. From the start, you can take
The dialogue in Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” reveals a man’s and a woman’s incongruent conflict on abortion, and the author’s fundamentally feminist position is visible in the portrayal of the woman’s independent choice of whether or not to keep the baby she is carrying. The plot is very simple in the story which is less than 1500 words long. A woman and a man spend less than an hour on a hot summers day at a Spanish train station in the valley of Ebro as they are waiting for a train heading for Madrid. Their dialogue takes up most of the space and only few major actions take place.
They begin to not understand what it is that they both want to do. During that part of the conversation it is very clear that the American man wants the girl to have this operation, which is an abortion “’I think it’s the best thing to do. But I don’t want you to do it if you don’t really want to’” (Hemingway p.402). The man clearly wants to do what is in his best interest and not the girl’s and the life forming inside of
In his story “Hills Like White Elephants”, Ernest Hemingway points out the couple's inability to make the decision: whether to abort the unborn child or not. The reader finds that the story deals with couple's miscommunication through the conversation and the emotions that they express. One can observe that no descriptions are given to the characters, thus, Hemingway creates universal dilemma to focus on the crucial issue. In this way, Hemingway leads the reader to identify with his female character that undergoes a struggle.
Hills Like White Elephant is a short story by Earnest Hemingway from 1927. The story is talking about a failing relationship between an American man and his girlfriend. This couple is at a critical point on their lives. At the bar in a train station in Spain, the girl, Jig, does not want to end up her pregnancy, but she is going to sacrifice the baby to satisfied him. Because he is critical of the exploitation of his girl’s feelings concerning the continuation of unbalanced relationship.
The man put on a facade about how he wanted Jig to be happy and make the decision herself, yet he continually tried to convince her to have the abortion. Undoubtedly, the man did not want to take any responsibility for their relationship and the baby, and wanted the easy way out. He did not respect her view on the subject, therefore he forced the idea that the abortion would be their best option. Since Jig was submissive and dependent, she agreed, “Oh, yes. But I don’t care about me.