Dr. Jen McDaneld
October 28, 2014
The Girl and The Elephant
Ernest Hemingway's short story "Hills Like White Elephants" illustrates his expertise at combining dialogue, setting, and symbolism with conciseness. The intense plot portrays a point in a man (called the American) and a girl’s life where they are at crossroads with one another. They dispute and make much effort to converse and challenge their standpoints about whether or not they should keep their unborn child. The man wants the girl (called Jig) to proceed with an abortion while the wife struggles to get him to look at her point of view. We will never be aware of how or if they manage to make ends meet due to the fact that the story concludes without a straightforward solution. A close reading of the text uncovers all kinds of translation games, which both disorient the reader and comment on communication in the story. Hemingway’s work shows the theme of what it means to talk and how important it is to have a conversation and be open with one another.
An example of this is shown in this paragraph
“‘They look like white elephants,’ she said.
‘I've never seen one,’ the man drank his beer.
‘No, you wouldn't have.’
‘I might have,’ the man said. ‘Just because you say I wouldn’t doesn’t prove anything.’” (Hemmingway 475)
Jig’s criticism appears to be a little spiteful in the quotation. As we read further on into the story, she’s profoundly disheartened in her man due to the fact that he yearns her to have an abortion and doesn’t want to marry her. Nevertheless, her insult has nothing to do with that. Instead, she grasps the deceitful procedure – hitting him with an implication that he has not explored the world as much as she has, which seems like a bold move. From that conversation, you are able to see that there is tension between the couple by their replies and that there is a type of ‘Girl vs. Man’ duel going on. An example of their bickering is shown in the dialogue where the