Formal Paper

1185 words - 5 pages

Have you ever experienced such a conversation when you had no understanding of what was particularly being discussed? How about finding yourself caught up in an argument or a discussion completely lost and frustrated yet still played along as if everything was going smoothly? Ernest Hemingway's short story "Hills Like White Elephants," illustrates the relationship of a couple that cannot communicate with one another in an effective manner. Hemingway incorporates the use of character to develop the theme of communication. The readers are initially presented with a couple conversing in a public area during a crisis point in their relationship. The author’s pragmatic approach to the ...view middle of the document...

As a short story that is filled with disagreement, “Hills Like White Elephants” first introduces the idea of conflict through a switch up in their conversation. While the girl was sitting on a table waiting for the train to arrive, she looked off to the hills and said, “They look like white elephants” (120). As the man responds that he has never seen one, the girl rudely responds, “No, you wouldn’t have” (120). The readers can get an overall impression that the relationship between the couple isn’t at its ideal state and can assume that there has been some sort of disagreement that is causing unnecessary rudeness. Hemingway wants his readers to fully analyze the text, especially in this short dialogue, to understand what is really occurring between the two people. For example, another inappropriate argument that the man and girl get involved in is when they receive their drinks and the girl claims that, “It tastes like licorice” (120). In response, the man replies by saying, “That’s the way with everything,” concluding the first main argument of the short story.
After eavesdropping on the couples’ conversation, we quickly learn through their succinct chat that the girl and the American are both not willing to deal with issue that is bothering them so immensely that a change in topic occurs often between the two. Additionally, we learn the girls name when the American discusses about an undisclosed operation, “It’s really an awfully simple operation, Jig, It’s not really an operation at all” (121). In due time, we learn that the main conflict that the American and Jig are experiencing is whether or not to complete an abortion through clues and references even though the word abortion does not appear once in the text. We clearly get the idea that the man is in favor of the operation and is clearly trying to convince Jig that it isn’t a big deal and she should definitely consider it. However, Jig’s powerlessness to correctly express herself is obviously shown when she does not respond. The author writes word for word that the girl did not say anything (121). Moreover, we get the sense that Jig has lost her sense of confidence when she barely even stands up for herself. This is depicted in her sentence, “Then I’ll do it. Because I don’t care about me,” (122) responding to the American about their exchange of beliefs about continuing with the operation. As the story progresses, we observe how...

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