Anti-Feminist Criticism In Hills Like White Elephants

Improved Essays
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

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    Negative stereotypes about anything always drive people away from a subject; I will be discussing the truth behind the lies about feminists and explaining just how ridiculous the stereotypes are. Drawing upon Valenti’s (2013) theory of how stereotypes come to be and how they are used, I will be elaborating on why these negative views about feminism exist, especially the view that all feminists are ugly. The attitudes regarding feminism will be addressed using hooks’ (2013) analysis of why many men fear feminism and change. Finally, I will explain why the stereotype that all feminists hate men is incredibly untrue and the inclusion the movement actually offers men, best outlined by Tarrant (2013). These types of untrue stereotypes make feminism…

    • 1147 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    to keep the prisoners in line and referred to them in impersonal anonymous, deprecating ways” (Zimbardo 8). Comparable to Celie, the prisoners are belittled by the abusers in a fashion that forces them to obey authority while losing their sense of identity. As women are continually damaged by abuse, their confidence and sense of self is destroyed. Many feel as though their only option is to stay. Likewise, when revealing the influence of the abuser, Smith and Segal report, “He or she will commonly shift the responsibility…

    • 1833 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    To be a woman is to be simultaneously hypersexualized and shamed for the sexualization. It is to be called a “prude” if it is rejected while also being called a “whore” if it used as a source of empowerment. There is no middle ground because this sexualization does not stem from women, but from men. Patriarchal power has continually forced upon women what they believe a woman should be, which often is the opposite of man. Femininity is considered to be bipolar of the masculine, so they assume that to be a woman is to lack male desires and characteristics.…

    • 1453 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Superior Essays

    To further depict her dominance, Helmer pleads for her forgiveness and even offers to change his attitudes and traditions for her. Ibsen portrays the sexist society through Helmer’s demeaning language to Nora and through her obedience; however, he illustrates his desire to alter these norms through Nora’s epiphany and refusal of her social obligations. Ibsen portrays male dominance in society through the chauvinistic language Helmer employs when conversing with Nora since his language he demeans her and makes her inferior to him in society and…

    • 1523 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    As a result, the advertisement supports gender stereotypes by perpetuating males with domineering attitudes while women are left to be passive and helpless. Although the woman may appear to be allowing this kind of behavior, this is only portraying the woman as a target due to her feminine figure being shown in a degrading manner. She is viewed as less than due to the position she is in, all the men are overlooking her and she quickly becomes the target for the men. Jean Kilbourne in the article "Two Ways a Woman Can Get Hurt" goes into great detail explaining how advertisements can affect females in society. Kilbourne states that "It is hard for girls not to learn self-hatred in an environment in which there is such widespread and open contempt for women and girls."…

    • 1653 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Great Essays

    Woolf believes that women uphold the stereotype that women cannot be friends with each other because they would be too jealous in terms of physical appearances and relationships with men. In addition, though, women are portrayed in literature, paintings, and jokes as having a deep hatred for other women. By explicitly stating this claim, Woolf hopes to surprise the reader. She uses tinges of sarcasm to suggest that women do not have to uphold this standard. She aims to diminish this depiction of women and to alter the relationships of women.…

    • 1314 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Feminist consciousness is based on the difficult views of politics. This is a fear of the complexity of the idea of feminist view, this for some reason scare men? It must be a scary thing that women can think on their own and process own ideas and thought. In the end there is a lot a stigma for feminism. Feminist practice is the idea of taking action against inequalities.…

    • 1867 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Shaw draws out Kitty and Vivie Warren, mother and daughter, and depicts them as two women who act against these ideals. Although Kitty and Vivie share different views, they have both found themselves under the pressure of patriarchal and Victorian ideals and gender roles. Shaw also shows how male privilege can impact a woman’s life and how a woman has to change her lifestyle because of these privileges given to men. Shaw also undermines gender roles in the sense that he weakens these gender roles, and tries to strengthen equality between men and women. Women presented in the play are shown to be “new women” because they don’t follow the ideals and gender roles.…

    • 1031 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    The figure of Mariam in Elizabeth Cary's The Tragedy of Mariam has been of tremendous interest to feminist critics who view her as a character embodying the contradictions of female identity in patriarchal culture. The play exposes this culture as conflicted in itself because of contradictory ideas about the proper "performance" of femininity which not only sever the female subject, but also create irreconcilable dilemmas for males. Mariam must choose between speaking as her own "inner" voice dictates, or conforming to the demands of a masculine culture that insists upon females being silent and obedient to the males who control them, in Mariam's case, Herod, her husband. She strives for an integrity of body and mind: to have both under the…

    • 2712 Words
    • 11 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Women are forced to endure the before mentioned hurdles and oppression until they are married where they then become expected to relinquish even more control and eventually be doomed to a life of servitude, repetition, and routine (Beauvoir 519). Therefore, in order to overcome male oppression, society must give in several ways. One major way that society must adapt is in relation to fantastic and realistic perceptions. The fantasy must be abolished because there is a clear line of demarcation; fantasy always succumbs to reality. “’Women are made to suffer’ they say” yet as soon as they attempt to revolt, they are challenged and overwhelmed by male superiority (Beauvoir 650).…

    • 717 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays