Perspectives on Unplanned Pregnancies: Hills Like White Elephants, and Good People

Perspectives on Unplanned Pregnancies: Hills Like White Elephants, and Good People

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In Hemingway’s “Hills like White Elephants” and Wallace’s “Good People,” both of the young females, Jig and Sheri, experience an unplanned pregnancy and must decide whether an abortion is the right choice. While the former story employs dialogue to depict the relationship of an adventurous, carefree couple in the 1920s, the latter uses third person limited point of view to show a faithful young couple whose religion is their source of morality. Thus, Wallace digs much deeper since both religion and love are a factor in Sheri’s ultimate decision. The enigmatic endings of both stories leave us questioning Jig and Sheri’s choice and its impact on the future of their relationship with their respective partners. The text suggests that Jig will not comply with the American’s wish of aborting the baby because of her vision and the indicative dialogue between her and the American, and Sheri will conform to her religious beliefs and carry the child. Whereas Jig will leave the American due to his lack of obligation, Lane Dean Jr. will marry Sheri in his effort to be a good person.
Jig’s sarcastic tone in her dialogues following the Americans’ is indicative of her decision to not get the abortion. After the American assures her that they will be happy like before and it is a “simple operation” (Hemingway 592) Jig retorts, “What makes you think so?” (592). Hence, it implies her disbelief and realization that things would not change much whether or not she got the abortion. Jig’s desire to keep the child is further evident when she tells him “[they] could get along” (593). She sees the possibility of a happy life with the child; the American sees it as an obstacle. Therefore, he continues in his effort to persuade her otherwise because “[he...


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...n unplanned pregnancy between two young couples. While Hemingway’s story takes place in the 1920s with a couple traveling the world together, Wallace’s story takes place in the present between a religious couple making a moral decision. As revealed by the specific dialogue in Hemingway’s text and Lane Dean’s thoughts in “Good People,” both Jig and Sheri will carry the child, and while Jig and the American will end their relationship, Lane Dean and Sheri will abide by their Christian faith in matrimony.






Works Cited

Hemingway, Ernest. “Hills Like White Elephants.” The Norton Introduction to Literature. Gen. ed. Kelly J. Mays. 11th ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2013. 591-594. Print.
Wallace, David. “Good People.” The Norton Introduction to Literature. Gen. ed. Kelly J. Mays. 11th ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2013. 215-220. Print.

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