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Analyses On "Hills Like White Elephants"

641 words - 3 pages

The Elephant in the Room

In the story, “Hills like White Elephants”, written by Ernest Hemingway, there are two major characters, the man called “The American” and his girlfriend, “Jig”. Since they had been traveling together, the story is set in a train station located in a valley in Spain. In the beginning of the story it is noticeable to the reader that there is definitely a sense of tension in the couple's relationship. Eventually through the dialogue the reader learns that The American and Jig are discussing an “operation”; whether or not Jig would be getting an abortion. The two were not truly communicating with each other about the abortion, and only called it an “operation” because they were uncomfortable to actually call it that. The relationship was at a crossroads at this point,showing the ...view middle of the document...

Some may even see her having more of a conscience than The American. But because of her sense of innocence, The American tries to take advantage of her vulnerability and pressure her to make decisions that would affect not only their relationship but the rest of her life. Jig is also portrayed as being more loyal than The American; hoping to make him happy no matter the cost to herself. She was ready to do anything to fix their relationship. Another trait that Jig showed, that The American lacked, was a sense of imagination. She expressed her imagination when she remarked that the hills in the valley resembled white elephants, which later in the short story is proven to be a symbol of the whole abortion topic as being, “the elephant in the room,” a euphemism for something that no one wants to discuss and in turn avoid talking about it all together. The stark differences between the two characters and lack of communication showed the rift in their relationship. The American was agitated by Jig’s imaginative remark about the hills. He also seems irritated by Jig’s reluctance to discuss the operation and tries to downplay the operation’s seriousness. He argues with Jig that the operation would be simple, showing his ignorance and his carelessness towards her feelings and safety. She in turn becomes more worried about the operation and hopes he would quit discussing it and even begged him to stop talking about it. She hopes that if she has the abortion that it would make their relationship happy again. However it was obvious to them both that it would never be the same again whether she chose to have the operation or not. The American knew he did not want a baby with Jig, nor possibly a future with her at all. He only wanted her to have the abortion and move on. However Jig loved him and was realizing she wanted to keep the baby and have a family. Yet their differences were tearing them apart. By the end of the short story Jig began to realize the true man The American was; that he only wanted what was best for him, his freedom from her and the possibility of having a family with her, which in turn forever changed their relationship.

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