Is “Hills Like White Elephants” an Abortion Conversation?

Topics: Pregnancy, Ernest Hemingway, Fertility Pages: 4 (1471 words) Published: February 3, 2014
“Hills Like White Elephants” is a short story written by Ernest Hemingway that was first published in 1927. It was originally published in the collection, Men Without Women. This story includes a man, or the American, and a woman, called Jig. The story takes place at a train station in the Ebro River valley of Spain. They are at the bar in the train station waiting for the train to come. As they drink their alcohol, they talk about a subject that is not mentioned. Although the subject of the couple’s conversation is undefined, there are many hints to suggest they are talking about an abortion. Hemingway suggests the discussion the couple is having is about an abortion through certain words that he uses. For example, the girl is called Jig” twice in the story. “Jig” can mean a lively dance but it can also mean something that guides a mechanical tool to the work. This can make you think about something that would hold a tool in place for an abortion. This especially gets ideas popping into your head because after a certain amount of time the abortion does need to be a surgical operation unlike when earlier when you can just take a pill. “Jig” is also the name of a fishing device at the end of a fishing line to lure fish onto the line and to make jerking motions when the fish is on the line. This can give you the impression of a line fishing to pull out the fetus of the unborn child from the mother. Since Hemingway was a skilled and devoted fisherman it would not be a huge surprise to see him use this kind of metaphor in his story. “Jig” could also mean “to copulate with someone”. This could refer to them to have been having sex and her accidentally becoming pregnant. Another expression used in “Hills Like White Elephants” is “white elephant”. “White elephant” can be used to describe “a possession unwanted by the owner but difficult to dispose of”. This relates extremely to an abortion or an unplanned pregnancy. Once a woman becomes pregnant, even if it is...
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