10 July 2010
The Communication Battle Between Jig and the American
In the Hemingway short story “Hills Like White Elephants” the author describes a conversation between a couple who wait at a train station crossroad in Spain during the 1920’s. The conversation reveals that the couple disagrees over the direction they should take with their relationship. Jig, the girl, is pregnant and desires to have the baby and settle down with her lover. While the American man tries to convince her to have an abortion so they can continue their carefree lifestyle. As they both try to persuade the other, they display the most common problems of miscommunication between men and women.
Jig tries to talk about the distant hills, the painting on the beaded curtain, and different types of drinks because the American is continually trying to convince her to go through with the operation. Jig wants to keep her baby but she feels as though the American is not listening to her plea to change their life style. In “Sex, Lies, and Conversation,” Deborah Tannen, an authority on conversational styles between men and women, states that “the complaint from women about their husbands most often is… he doesn’t listen to me.” Jig feels as though her boyfriend is not listening and understanding her refusal to talk about having the operation. Every time Jig changes the conversation away from the abortion, the American brings it right back, ignoring her plea to not only not have the operation but also her obvious signals that she doesn’t want to talk about the abortion.
The conversation between Jig and the American seemed doomed from the beginning. They each had pre-determined motives before the conversation even started. The American was determined to convince Jig that the operation was simple and that they would be happy after she had it; Jig was determined not to talk about it as though she thought he would simply forget about it and then the pregnancy could continue. Tannen...
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