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Jig’s Decision in Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” Essay

Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” presents what is seemingly a pointless conversation between a man and a woman as they look at the hills in Spain which the woman considers to present the image of white elephants trailing each other across the valley. Although the main topic of their conversation is not explicitly mentioned in their conversation, it seems as if the man is encouraging the woman to commit an abortion. The story begins with a description of the place where both individuals are having their conversation. It states, “The hills across the valley of Ebro were long and white.

On this side there was no shade and no trees and the station was between two lines of rails in the sun” (Hemingway, 2001, p. 563). The importance of the hills to the narrative is made evident in the later part of the text as the woman mentions that “the hills are like elephants” and the man considers it to be a good comparison (Hemingway, 2001, p. 563). Later on the woman repeats the same line however it was placed in a different context as she states, “If do it, then it will be nice again if I say things are like white elephants, and you’ll like it? ” (Hemingway, 2001, p. 563).

In this context, the woman is questioning whether their relationship will still be the same given that she is hesitant about committing abortion and the man is continuously trying to persuade her to commit it. The significance of Jig’s comparison of the hills to white elephants is thereby evident as Jig weighs the consequences of adhering to the man’s desire to abort their child since a part of Jig knows that if she does abort their child, there is a large possibility that their relationship will end since her feelings for the man will be changed as he was the one who persuaded her to abort their child.

The end of their relationship, in this sense, may be seen as a result of the lost of love between the couple since their relationship will be tainted by the knowledge that the man failed to be accountable for his actions which led them to abort their child. Reference Hemingway, E. (2001). Hills Like White Elephants. Rites of Passage: A Thematic Reader. Eds. J. Rae & C. Fraga. Np: Heinle & Heinle.


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