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Themes Of "Hills Like White Elephants"

927 words - 4 pages

The Themes of "Hills Like White Elephants" The theme of choices and consequences is expressed through the short story "Hills Like White Elephants" through the American and through Jig. The next theme is the theme of doubt and ambiguity which is sensed by the reader through both the American's doubts and Jig's doubts. The last is the theme of men and women in which Hemingway explores the way that men and women relate to each other. In "Hills Like White Elephants," Ernest Hemingway expresses three major themes; these themes include choices and consequences, doubt and ambiguity, and men and women.First, the theme of choices and consequences is sensed by the reader through the American and Jig. For the American, having the abortion would let both of them go back to their previous lives and not worry about it. With the abortion both of them would have plenty of freedom (Tim 158). He tells Jig that "it's really not anything. It's just to let the air in" (Baker). If Jig does have the baby, then the American knows that the consequences will lead to a breakup. After the breakup Jig would be left with the baby and both would be miserable (Tim 158). In Jig's case of an abortion, she wants reassurance from the American. The American does not give her reassurance and "she is extremely irritated by his insensitivity." Not only does Jig want reassurance, she wants his love (Oliver 178). If Jig does deliver the baby then she knows that she would have to live a life without happiness. The American will leave her if she goes through with the pregnancy and has the baby. This would leave her unhappy because it would lead to a life without the American whom she loves. Jig knows that no matter what her decision is that the chances of her and the American having a long term relationship are very slim (Tim 158).Second, the theme of doubt and ambiguity is expressed to the reader through the doubts of the American and the doubts of Jig. The American speaks with complete certainty when in fact he may not actually know what he is saying. He acts like he knows everything about abortions and what is involved. He really has no idea of how it is performed. Also, the American does not know what it would mean for Jig to have the abortion, but he does not care and just wants her to have it. He does not care at all for what Jig thinks about having the abortion and does not attempt to sympathize with her opinion. As for Jig, she is doubtful about either outcome of the baby. With an abortion she may be unhappy, but she has a better chance of a life with the American....

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