Power In Ernest Hemingway's Hills Like White Elephants

513 Words3 Pages
Power is a fragile thing. It can be something physical and tangible or it can be something discarnate, something of the mind. Power can be fleeting; just because one side holds more power, doesn’t mean the other side is powerless, an idea exemplified in Hills Like White Elephants. Although the man hold more power within his relationship to the girl, she holds power in the fact that she understands their relationship is doomed. While he will be unable to comprehend the downward trajectory of their affair until it is too late, she knows that going through with it - whatever it is - will not save their relationship. The first words out of the girl’s mouth are, “‘’What should we drink?’” (p. 323). This sets up the idea that the man holds the power in the relationship. Then, it is revealed that the man speaks Spanish while the girl does not; the girl is reliant on him to translate everything for her. The man goes on to dismiss almost everything that comes out of her mouth that he doesn’t want to talk about. It almost seems like the girl is just a
While they are sitting, waiting for the train, the two discuss an operation that the girl is going in for. The man insists that it’s a simple one and that they will be “‘ fine
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“‘And we can have all this,’ she said. ‘And we could have everything and every day we make it more impossible.’” (p. 326). The man doesn’t listen to this, much like he doesn’t listen to most of what she says throughout the short story. She repeats herself and says, “‘I said we could have everything’” (p. 326) and he replies, “‘We can have everything’” (p. 326). This even further highlights her knowledge of their relationship, she uses the past tense while he uses the present. She realizes that the best days of their relationship are over and nothing they do will bring them back, it’s too late to start fixing all their
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