Ernest Hemingway Gender Analysis Essay

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Gender in “Hills Like White Elephants” Ernest Hemingway’s 1927 short story “Hills Like White Elements” explores the way a couple discuss an ‘operation’ (42) which the woman is to receive, which is implied to be abortion without actually mentioning the word itself. It is set at a table at a train station somewhere between Barcelona and Madrid in Spain. The couple consists of an American male and a ‘girl’ (5), whose name is later revealed to be Jig (42), which might imply that perhaps she is younger, but not a local of Spain since she asks the American to translate for her in the first few lines of their conversation (15). Jig resists the idea of aborting the child throughout the course of the story and the American tries to convince her by…show more content…
She suggests that male-female conversation is cross-cultural communication and that miscommunication results because of intolerance for the opposite gender marked language. While this is true, it could also seem to the audience that both characters have different wants and needs for their future, so perhaps the language isn’t a strong enough factor in the miscommunication. What is certain through the text is that the male American has much more dominance and certainty in his dialogue whereas the female Jig’s dialogue tends to stretch the conversation more rather than have a fixed standpoint. This can be seen through her mentioning the “white elephants” (9, Hemingway) or snapping about how they “look at things and try new drinks” (34). It is clear that Jig’s dialogue is driven by fantasy whereas the American’s dialogue is driven by facts and what is. Smiley does have a point when she suggest that women’s language focuses on emotions rather than facts and objects, but this could be since they are socially primed to be more emotionally open about their thoughts than are men. If male gender-marked language is more direct and less trivial than that of women it is due to culture, not
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