Feminism in the Hills
In Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants”, Hemingway creates a power dynamic between females and males through the way he uses setting, characterization, and dialogue. Hemingway chooses the setting to symbolize the conflicts and differences between the two individuals. Characterizing the woman, Jig, as being the strong one that is in control while the American man is the character with no power to control the situation reveals this power struggle. The dialogue Hemingway chose to give the characters also illustrates the power dynamic through the way Jig has the final say but the American can only try to persuade her one way or the other. Before analyzing this poem it is important to first understand what feminism involves because many incorrectly believe it is only about how women are treated (M 1). It began with the first wave feminists who fought for women’s right to vote. The next wave fought for economic equality between women and men. The third and final wave of feminists is where clearly defining feminism becomes difficult, it isn’t so much about women versus men anymore it is more about equality between differences in people (M 2). “Hills Like White Elephants” is more strictly related with the women versus men issues and how women have been wrongly characterized in the past. It disproves the general idea that women are not as powerful as men by turning the power dynamic around and portraying the woman as the decision maker willing to give birth even though it will be the more difficult path, while the man selfishly tries to avoid his responsibility by killing the problem (Bray 1).
Hemingway uses the setting to outline the conflicting ideals of the two characters but more importantly he uses the situation to empower Jig’s, the females, character. “Hills Like White Elephants” is set in a train station where the reader is dropped into a conversation between an American man and his pregnant girlfriend. Although the dialogue...
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