Abortion in Hemingway's Hills Like White Elephants

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Abortion in Hemingway's Hills Like White Elephants

The story "Hills Like White Elephants" is a conversation between a young woman `Jig' and an American man waiting for a train at a station in Spain. The author never names the topic of their discussion but as their dialogue progresses; it becomes evident that Jig is pregnant. The man wants Jig to abort the unborn child but she is unconvinced and wants to become a mother. Hemingway has brilliantly written the story's dialogue which "captures the feel of a private conversation while at the same time communicating the necessary narrative background" (O'Brien 19). At the end of the story, it is unclear as to what decision has been made; however, Hemingway gives the reader several clues regarding what Jig feels, and what she wants to do. Jig's private thoughts are illuminated by Hemingway's description of the setting, the character, and the conflict. Stanley Renner suggests that, as a result of the couple's discussion, "Jig has become able to make a more clear-sighted estimation, and perhaps a better choice, of men" Wyche(59). The couple's inability to communicate effectively their true thoughts and emotions makes their dialogue very appealing. The story examines the gender differences and miscommunications as they influence the decision whether to abort the unborn child or not (Smiley). In his book on Hemingway, published in 1999, Carl P. Eby points out that "[f]or the past two decades, Hemingway criticism has been dominated by a reconsideration of the role of gender in his work" (Bauer 125).

Hemingway's characters in the story represent the stereotypical male and female in the real world, to some extent. The American is the typical masculine, testosterone-crazed male who just ...

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...s'. The Hemingway Review, 22 (1) (Fall 2002): 56-71. EBSCOhost.

Renner, Stanley "Moving to the Girl's Side of `Hills Like White Elephants'." The Hemingway Review, 15 (1) (Fall 1995): 27-41. As Rpt. in Wyche, David "Letting the Air into a Relationship: Metaphorical Abortion in `Hills Like White Elephants'. The Hemingway Review, 22 (1) (Fall 2002): 56-71. EBSCOhost.

Eby, Carl P. "Hemingway's Fetishism: Psychoanalysis and the Mirror of Manhood. Albany: State University of New York Press. As Rpt. in Bauer, Margaret D. "Forget the Legend and Read the Work: Teaching Two Stories by Ernest Hemingway. College Literature, 30 (3) (Summer 2003): 124-37. EBSCOhost.

Burroway, Janet. Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft. 6th ed. New York: Longman, 2003. As Rpt. in Rankin, Paul "Hemingway's `Hills Like White Elephants'." Explicator, 63 (4) (Summer 2005): 234-37.
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