Ernest Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants"

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People often assign others with nicknames to signify a sense of familiarity or a connection. We do not refer to our professors or our bosses with nicknames because we share a more formal and professional relationship with them. With loved ones however, shortened names represent a mutual fondness. Nonetheless, the reverse can be applied in this situation also. For instance, in Hemingway’s short story “Hills Like White Elephants”, the male protagonist refers to the female as “Jig”. This nickname does not emanate any sort of sweetness, and can almost be looked at contemptuously. The name “Jig” allows the reader to further comprehend the inner complexities of such a simple story.

Ernest Hemingway wisely selects the name Jig to represent something of greater value. Jig is an outdated slang term for sexual intercourse. It can also reference a Celtic dance or several kinds of tools. The insinuation can therefore be that Jig is manipulated by the male protagonist and no value is given to her. She is seen strictly as a woman who satisfies the male’s sexual needs. Throughout the text, many hints are given to suggest that the male protagonist is attempting to convince Jig to undergo an abortion. The fact that she compares the alcoholic beverage to licorice implies that she is of a young age, and therefore rather naive. This makes her a feasible victim. Repetition in the dialogue assist the reader in understanding the manipulation process. It is described as “an awfully simple operation”. The American man seemed more interested in convincing her that things will resume to normalcy between him and Jig after she underwent this procedure. The suspicion is further deepened with several “perfectly simples” until Jig finally succumbs into the persuasion. Furthermore, it is thoroughly evident that Jig is dissatisfied with this romantic relationship – although she herself may not be aware of this fact. “I wanted to try this new drink. That’s all we do, isn’t it – look at things...
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