Moving to the Girl’s Side of ‘Hills like White Elephants

1559 Words7 Pages
Abortion is a major obstacle in any relationship, leaving the woman to decide to “terminate the baby” or to keep it. During the 1920s, around the decade in which Ernest Hemingway wrote “Hills like White Elephants,” abortion was illegal and frowned upon. Hemingway writes about an American man and a girl named Jig who finds out that she is pregnant. Throughout the essay, the couple is mentioning about having “an operation” or not. With their relationship at toll as well, Hemingway ends the story without the readers knowing what happens with the abortion and the relationship as well. David Wyche, Timothy O’Brien, and Stanley Renner compose articles to try to answer readers’ unanswered questions. Renner in his article, “Moving to the Girl’s Side of ‘Hills like White Elephants,’” states that the question in the movement of the characters as Jig struggles to find her own identity, leading her to the abortion. Similarly, Wyche in his article, “Letting the Air Into the Relationship: Metaphorical Abortion in ‘Hills like White Elephants,’” explains the story about the abortion and the relationship as a metaphor about Hemingway’s affair with Pauline Pfeiffer that ended shortly. Lastly, O’Brien’s article, “Allusion, Word play, and the Central Conflict in Hemingway’s ‘Hills like White Elephants,”’ says that the through the setting and dialogue mirroring the tension, Jig complies with the man. Through the topics of setting and dialogue, readers can predict that by the end of the story, Jig will have realized that without the man directing her, the “white elephant” is just extra baggage. The setting of Hemingway’s essay is not just a train station in where Jig and the American discuss the abortion, but it is where Jig finds her identity as she ... ... middle of paper ... ...reat mass of ice underneath, so does Hemmingway’s dialogue leave the unstated tension between the characters. Readers believe when reading Hemingway’s piece that he lacks creative imagery or eloquent phrases. With this style of writing, Hemingway lets the readers feel for themselves when reading essays like “Hills like White Elephants.” His writings may seem dull, but many are missing what a true picture he paints underneath the text. Hemingway in his essay addresses the crucial decision that some couples face: whether or not to abort a child. With the decision, the relationship is at toll if the couple is on opposite spectrums. In Jig’s perspective, with her complete dependence on the man as they travel, the abortion is the next step. As she moves to “the other side” at the end of the essay, she looks past the hills, acknowledging her dreams, but finally complies.
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