Anti-Feminist Criticism In Hills Like White Elephants

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The way in which a story is presented can either be what Kenneth Burke refers to as good art or bad art. Good art is that which conveys multiple meanings through the context; bad art is that which only holds one meaning that is simply understood the same way among all audience members. Hills Like White Elephants can be categorized as good art through the ways in which, depending on the reader, can lead to various interpretations and understandings. Through examination of the story and its various elements, an individual can begin to discover the multiple ways that phrasing can impact how a reader feels about their own values in relation to the material presented/before them. The presentation of the characters can lead readers to various …show more content…
The American, representing males in the situation, is seen as holding all power and control, which reinforces a patriarchal system. Depending on how a reader looks at the text through a feminist lens, the meanings can vary. One way to look at the plot would be through an anti-feminist lens as the girl is seen as powerless, weak, and dependent upon the American. This anti-feminist message can be seen through his treatment of her. He does his best to manipulate her into giving in to his demands and also degrades her; he does this by stating that she must come into the shade, as she is not capable of thinking clearly due to her current state. However, it is also possible to examine this as promoting ideas of feminism in various ways. The girl begins to take control as she fights her hardest against the American’s demands by constantly expressing her viewpoint on the issues at hand. She can be seen as gaining more control as the story progresses, especially when she does her best to belittle him and politely tell him to stop talking. How it is phrased can be seen as strong due to the level of control she attempts to maintain instead of completely losing it. Finally, it can be seen as strong support of feminist ideas in the conclusion of the story when she states that she is completely fine. This conveys various meanings as it demonstrates that she is the one who is …show more content…
Through engagement in what Burke refers to as good art, such as “Hills Like White Elephants,” readers are able to partake in abstract thinking, as there is a high level of variation with interpreting the story. This example of good art presents the audience with the challenge of identifying a wide range of interpretations. It allows for an individual to connect with others who may think differently and to see just how much personality and values differ from person to person across cultures and through

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