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Analysis Of Hills Like White Elephants By Ernest Hemingway

1073 words - 4 pages

Analysis of Hills Like White Elephants by Ernest Hemingway

"Hills Like White Elephants," is a short story,. It is a story about a man and a woman waiting at a train station talking about an issue that they never name. I believe this issue is abortion. In this paper I will prove that the girl in the story, who's name is Jig, finally decides to go ahead and have the baby even though the man, who does not have a name, wants her to have an abortion. It is the end of the story that makes me think this.

First of all I will prove that it is an abortion that this couple is discussing. The man says that it is an "operation," and an abortion is an operation. Also, he says that it is "just to let the air in," which can be interpreted as meaning that the doctors who are performing the abortion will let the air into the uterus as they remove the fetus. The man says that he has "known lots of people that have done it." Which suggests that this is a common operation like an abortion. It also shows the moral depravity of the world of these people because so many women are having abortions. Finally, the man says that he wants their relationship to be "just like we were before". This suggests that the relationship has changed, as it would with a baby, if the girl has an abortion things will return to the same as before the pregnancy. We don't know what the couple acted like before the pregnancy, however, we are certainly not meant to like their behavior as they talk about the abortion.

Now that I have established that the couple is having an abortion, I will establish the girl's behavior because this is important for figuring out the way in which she has made up her mind at the end of the story. Early in the story we get a glimpse at Jig's disgust with her male partner. She looks at the hills in the distance and says "They look like white elephants". The man responds that he has "never seen one" after which he drinks more beer. Jig then responds: "No, you wouldn't have" . The man gets really defensive when she says this, Jig ignores him. The scene is important because it shows that from the very beginning of the story Jig is talking down to the man and does not have much respect for him. The fact that she is not surprised he's never seen a white elephant. She thinks him to be a narrow-minded pig. A white elephant is something that is unwanted. And this guy never deals with things that he does not want. He just shuts his mind to them. The girl in this seen seems to recognize this fact.

Since we see the girl acting with condescension and sarcasm right in the first scene when the couple talks about white elephants, we need to keep this attitude in mind when we read there subsequent conversations. For example. On page 284 Jig says "Then I'll do it. Because I don't care about...

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