17 December 2012
A Different Kind of Love
Throughout time, men and women have struggled with the idea of love. What is it? How can I tell when I feel it? Is it the same for everyone? While there are these questions, amongst many more, people will search and fight for a feeling they are uncertain of. Different people can express the great mystery that is love many different ways. In both Ernest Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants" and Raymond Carter's "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love," the authors explore what love is and how one can spot it. They each approach the topic with very different writing styles and because of this, they both exemplify different forms of love. While they are severely different, both stories reflect a different and true kind of love. In Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants," the voice is changing often. The narrator is prominent in the opening paragraph and serves mainly to describe the setting. Throughout the text, it is mostly dialogue between the man and woman and their words reflect very different voices from one another. There is conflict between them and that is obvious. Later when we learn that they are discussing a possible abortion, it is easier to feel the strain between them, knowing there is such a heavy topic on hand. They are both speaking very carefully. The woman’s voice is weaker and more willing to make her husband happy, perhaps as to avoid hurting feelings. She says to her husband, “But I don’t care about me. And I’ll do it and then everything will be fine” (Hemingway 554). Although her husband urges her that he does not want her to do what makes her unhappy, she insists on doing what will make their lives go back to normal. They both offer sacrifices, but in the end the man’s voice is stronger and he gets what he wants. The question on hand now is whether or not her ultimate sacrifice was an act of love or an act of desperation and fear to return to her normal and comfortable life. Many could argue that both demonstrate acts that are not loving but through their struggle and difficult decisions, I think they were each considerate and thoughtful of each other’s feelings carefully and lovingly. Though the voices of the characters offer the reader some insight into their relationship, there is more to be analyzed in Hemingway’s writing when discussing love. The style of his writing in this short story is very similar to a play. It starts with a very descriptive setting as the beginning of a scene in a play would. It then goes on to consist of mostly dialogue. This dialogue is also very much set up like a play because it doesn’t use, “he said,” “she said,” very much, rather than just letting the conversation read and flow exactly as it’s meant to be heard in real life. There are a few narrations, but only enough to guide the reader through their actions. The conversation in this piece is the most important feature of his story because in this, we as readers are learning how the characters communicate about a heavy topic within a relationship. It allowed us to immerse ourselves in their lives and conversation, and some of us may have even imagined ourselves in their shoes. When reading through their conversation, it allows each reader to take a step back and notice what is being said and what is not being said, and we can decide whether or not this is how a couple in love should be communicating. For example, when one reads on his or her own it is easy to skip over or overlook a few lines here and there. Reading conversations aloud like we did in class helps readers to clearly hear both sides of the story. Like when the woman examines why she would actually like to proceed with the abortion, talking about their previous friends who had done it and “Afterward they were all so happy” (Hemingway 554). And despite her agreement, her husband is still thoughtful and considerate, saying, “I wouldn’t have you o it if you...