Taking a Closer Look

Taking a Closer Look

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In the fictional story of "Hills Like White Elephants" by Ernest Hemingway; A man and a woman are sitting at a train station ordering drinks and observing everything around themselves. But they have a problem that they must resolve, the problem is that the woman is pregnant and the man wants her to have an abortion. She does not want the abortion but is willing to do so if they are going to be happy afterwards.

The couple sit at the train station waiting for their train and discuss the abortion which they disguise the word as a "simple operation." "It's really an awfully simple operation, Jig."(325) I think they do so because back when the story was published in 1927 abortion was not a common procedure, and to speak of such would cause attention and people would look down on them. Another thing that occurred to me when reading this story was that the story must take place in a foreign country because in 1927 alcohol was illegal. They were ordering drinks one after another. So they were going against the norm in more then just one way, they were drinking alcohol and thinking about having an abortion.

When discussing the decision for the simple operation to occur it is clear that the man really wants to go through with it because he likes just the way they are and he doesn't want to change it and make it more complicated. The woman on the other hand seems to want a baby. "That's all we do, isn't it-look at things and try new drinks?"(324)

I think she wants the baby so that they can have something new in their relationship and move forward with it. The man seems to be trying to get her to go through with the simple operation by using guilt. "Well," the man said, "if you don't want to you don't have to. I wouldn't have you do it if you didn't want to. But I know its perfectly simple." He keeps reassuring her that it is a simple and natural process and that he will still love her no matter what she decides. By the end of the story she seems convinced that she will go through with the simple operation. Something to put into consideration is that during their conversation they are drinking, and drinking alcohol alters ones judgment; so drinking while deciding whether or not to go through with it was not a good idea.

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I think that the scenery around them has important meaning; one side of their view is of trees, a river and mountains that look like white elephants. The other side is dry and plain. I think that the side with the trees, river, and mountains represents her future if she doesn't have the abortion and has a child. She would have a family and things would change. The other side represents the boring life she lives at the moment where all they do is try new drinks and look at things.

In conclusion I think that the woman might decide to have the abortion because of the mans influence on her, she just wants them to be happy afterwards and he assures her that they will be. But she does not think it over enough even though it seemed she tried to. "Would you please please please please please please please please please please stop talking?"(326) It seems that she wanted to think it over more so it is not clear to me exactly if she will decide to have the simple operation done or not.

Works Cited

Hemingway, Ernest, "Hills Like White Elephants" Literature and ourselves- 4th ed. Gloria Mason Henderson, Bill Day, and Sandra Stevenson Waller, New York; Longman, 2003.
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