Masculinity And Womanhood In Ernest Hemingway's Hills Like White Elephants

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“Hills Like White Elephants” may be a short story about two people just talking in a bar of a station, but behind every word Hemingway uses lies a deeper meaning. It is necessary to point out that omitting further information is something that is typical to Hemingway’s writing style. The reader has to contemplate what the author wants to portray in his story in the first place. Although the author probably had one meaning in mind, the metaphors can be interpreted in many ways. While reading the story, what came up to my mind was whether the author’s personal life had to do something with it or not. What is equally important in this process of thinking is to look at the views the author has on certain aspects, in this case masculinity and womanhood,…show more content…
A white elephant signifies something that has a high value but is not quite beneficial. When this proverb is placed in context, it would be possible to assume that Jig’s pregnancy might be a ‘white elephant’, considering a human life is very valuable but the couple is not ready to have a child at the moment. According to Joseph M. Flora, a white elephant in nature is rare (44) and this can signify that maybe it would be the only chance for the girl to get a baby, for the reason that a woman can get possibly infertile after an abortion. The question arises what the hills might have to do with white elephants. The hills can be seen as a boundary between the couple. It is obvious from what the American says to Jig, that perhaps the hills could stand for the unborn baby. Further in the story, the girl suddenly calls these hills ‘mountains’. (252) In my interpretation, it seems that she also might have realised that the baby would be a barrier between them. Well, in this case she has to ‘move mountains’ and make that difficult decision. 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) Along with these movements Jig also changes her mind about her relationship with the American. In the first stage Hemingway creates the impression that the girl still has to make the decision about the surgery. This idea is created by the description of the scenery in which the station is amidst the two lines of rails and what the girl sees on the other side. (251) The dryness and the brown colour of the country refer to a lack
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