755 Words4 Pages
In Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” the character Jig is submissive to her counterpart The American Man, who is encouraging her to have an abortion. While Jig is not sure what she wants, she does not wish to press the subject of the operation because The American Man is intent upon persuading her to go through with the procedure. Throughout this story Jig’s helplessness, indecisiveness, and her lack of education become apparent, although by the end of the story she becomes confident, decisive, and ultimately takes back control of her decisions and life.
In the beginning of “Hills Like White Elephants” Jig and The American Man are sitting at a train station, waiting for the train to Barcelona. Both decide to order drinks from the bartender, it soon becomes apparent that Jig is unable to speak or understand the country’s language. Since she is unable to read the language, when Jig notices the beaded curtains have “Anis del Toro” written across them, she must ask The American Man to translate them. A second instance of Jig’s helplessness is when she agrees to the operation because she claims not to care about herself or her safety, if she is able to insure The American Man is happy and not upset with her.
The character of Jig is also very indecisive. After The American Man is persuading her to have an abortion, she states that she is willing to have the operation if it will make The American Man happy, and insures he will no longer worry. She also states that since she doesn’t care about herself, she will have the procedure because it will please The American Man. Later during the story, while they are outside looking at the hills, the two have the conversation of:
“‘And we could have all this,’ she said.
And w...

... middle of paper ...

...rican Man and the procedure that is positive.
Finally, Jig retakes control of the situation when, after The American Man takes the bags over to the station, she returns saying to The American Man “’I feel fine…There’s nothing wrong with me. I feel fine.’” This shows that she has accepted that the relationship with The American Man is over, and that she now has accepted that she is in control of her own life and situation. This causes The American Man to finally take the submissive role, as Jig has now claimed her dominance.
In Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” Jig changes her position completely when she claims her dominance over her situation, and possibly ends the relationship with The American Man. She changes from powerless, weak, and ambiguous to taking complete control and deciding to make her own decisions about the circumstances in which she is in.
Open Document