Theme Of Disconnection In Ernest Hemingway's Hills Like White Elephants

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One main theme in Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” is the idea of disconnection. In this story, we eavesdrop on a conversation held between both characters. In their dialogue, conflict is created as the characters face what most readers believe to be the obstacle of unexpected pregnancy. This is assumed through symbolism and the titles meaning. The term “white elephant” was used for an unwanted gift. The birth of a child, when unexpected could then be seen as a “white elephant.”. We see the girl’s weakness and her inability to express herself later in the story when the couple are discussing the operation. Both of the characters have specific lines in the story where it is apparent that they have major communication problems.…show more content…
In the story we see how the conversation develops between both of the characters. In Scott Consigny’s article, “Hemingway's Hills like White Elephants”, he talks about the bamboo curtain that was hanging in the door of the bar. Consigny begins to tell us the symbolism behind this curtain and how it is “a symbolic barrier between jig and her American lover” (p.1). We can only agree to this as we keep reading and notice the different decisions that both characters want to make. The conversation between both of them is very lively up until he mentions the operation. “‘It’s really an awfully simple operation, Jig,’ the man said. ‘It’s really not an operation at all’” (Hemingway p. 401). Once he says this line the disconnection between both characters becomes noticeable. As they continue on with the conversation, the disconnection between both of them grows and grows. 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…show more content…
Throughout the dialog that continues after the man mentions the operation, she consistently asks him questions. “’And if I do it you’ll be happy and things will be like they were and you’ll love me?’”. With her constantly wanting his reassurance shows how disconnected she is words him, and vice versa. The American man has to constantly tell her that regardless of her choice, he will still love her. “’I love you now. You know I love you.’”. Both of them are trying to connect with each other so they can figure out the best possible way to deal with the operation. Deborah Tall says, “This etymology resonates tellingly with the story's central circumstance: an unplanned pregnancy, a "gift" that threatens to rupture, to emotionally bankrupt, Hemingway's couple. But the woman specifically applies the metaphor to the landscape--the hills--and thus she implies that the physical world itself is a burden, a gift that overwhelms” ( p. 342). In doing that they create more of a misunderstanding, which leads for the connection that the possibly had to
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