Essay on Critical Analysis of Hills Like White Elephants

913 Words Jul 20th, 2011 4 Pages
Mikhail Shimonov
Professor Kaufman
March 28, 2011
Critical Analysis of Hills like White Elephants At first glance, Hills like White Elephants by Ernest Hemingway, may allude to many interpretations, however, the short story has a clear purpose. Set in the Ebro River valley in Spain, the story looms around the issue brought forth by Jig and the American, who is nameless throughout the whole story. The issue here being the ‘simple operation’ that Jig is about to undergo which happens to be an abortion. Set in the early 1920s, the idea of abortion is as irrational and controversial as today’s ongoing debate over gay marriage. Although the term abortion is never used in the story, the imagery Hemingway uses along with the language and
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During the story, however, the American states to the woman “if you don’t want to you don’t have to. I wouldn’t have you do it if you didn’t want to”, nevertheless, he eventually concludes with “But I know it’s perfectly simple” (2). The conclusion to his statement gives the reader a sense that the American, although nice and caring, he is simply taking into account how his life would come to an immediate halt after the baby is born. It is clear from “the bags against the wall of the station … [with] labels on them from all the hotels where they had spent nights” that they both liked to travel, drink, and enjoy themselves – the life of a young couple (3). However, it is makes clear sense as to why the American would want to push for the abortion now even more so knowing that he enjoys his current lifestyle. This is essentially his goal and his motive for persuading her go through with the abortion, and her being naïve and simplistic, she would be swayed easy by his words, so long as “he is happy” as she states countlessly throughout their conversation (2). As stated in the beginning of the story, he has already sacrificed much for her: the constant anxiety with having the child, and his goal to enjoy a drink of absinthe, which supposedly

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