Professor Lennis Polnac
26 February 2013
“Hills Like White Elephants”
In Hills Like White Elephants, a man called “the American” and his girlfriend, whom he referrs to as “Jig”, are sitting at a table in Spain, waiting on the train to take them to Madrid. They order some alcohol, and Jig makes a comment about how the hills look like white elephants. The American and his girlfriend seem to bicker over a few inconsequential things, and then the conversation turns to an operation the man wants Jig to have. He tries to convince her that the operation will be simple, telling her that things will be fine afterward and would return to the way they were. Jig does not seem to want to get the operation, but tells the American that she will have the operation as long as he promises her that he will still love her and they will live happily together after the operation. Jig seems to be resigned to having the operation, which the reader soon comes to understand is an abortion, even though it is not plainly stated as so in the story. Jig begins to wonder if she could be happy with the American after having the operation. They argue for a while, until she gets tired and asks the American to stop talking. Through the whole story, it seems that Hemingway is focusing on the difference between talking and communicating. The American and Jig are talking, but neither of them is actually communicating with the other, because they seem to just be saying what the other wants to hear, or to be resigned to doing what the other wants to placate them and keep peace. In the end of the story, it is fairly apparent that they will go their separate ways.
The American seems to be very worldly and smart. He also seems to be a little bit indifferent. He does not react strongly, saying he doesn't care whether Jig has the operation or not. However, his actions and words tell a different story. He seems to not care about Jig's wants, trying to convince her to have...