Hills Like White Elephants
"Hills Like White Elephants" by Ernest Hemingway, is a great example of women's role in the last century. The story is told in a simple form of dialogue between a man and a young woman nicknamed Jig. Although there is an important decision to be made, nothing of much importance is talked about. In the story, Jig does not have much influence in her relationship with the man, even when it comes to an abortion.
The tale begins outside a small train-stop in the middle of Spain, where a young woman peers into the nearby hills. Jig remarks that they look like white elephants and tells the man she wants some beers. The man asks for two drinks and the waitress asks Jill if she wants her drink with water, but she can not decide. The man suggests that they're good with water so they drink the Anis del Toros. As they chat about drinks, the man remarks about the abortion saying it is not a big deal and that everything would be fine afterwards. She agrees to do it because she doesn't care about herself and they get in an argument. She asks for only one thing, which is to stop talking to her. The man gets up ,grabs the bags, and in the end he comes back and asks if she's fine. She responds,"I feel fine. There's nothing wrong with me. I feel fine." (p255)
At a time when some women had more liberties than most, Hemingway shows us that even Jig can not make an important decision on her own. After WWI, women began to fight for the right to vote and they began new careers outside the home. This story takes place in the late twenties and the characters' lifestyles reflect the "Lost Generation of expatriates living in Western Europe. Men, as well as women had an easy life of socially drinking in cafes, traveling, and writing. The man and Jig had been traveling from Barcelona and were going to Madrid. Their plans were to try new drinks and "look at things."(p252) In the beginning of the story, Jig can't determine to get an Anis del Toro with or with ought water. It also seems that she does not even know where they're going in their relationship. The rail tracks are used to symbolize the two roads ahead and they are stationed in the middle of them. She states that they could get along if she has the baby. The man tells her that he doesn't want anyone but her and it's that simple. The decision isn't as simple to her but she will go through the operation. It seems that the man is happy with Jig just tagging along for the ride.
Jig appears to be unsatisfied with her life. In the opening scene, she is imagining white elephants as she looks onto the Ebro hills. The white elephants refer to an unwanted gift. She wants the gift of a child but...