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A Comparative Analysis of “Hills Like White Elephant” and “Good Country People”

Categories Character, Hills Like White Elephants, Short Story

Analysis, Pages 6 (1392 words)

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Analysis, Pages 6 (1392 words)

The short story “Hills like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway and the short story “Good Country People” by Flannery O’Connor both depict male superiority. Both stories illustrate women being dominated by men. “Good Country People” and “Hills like White Elephants” also have a common theme of innocence and experience.

“Hills like White Elephant” begins with a long description of the setting of the story. There is a train station surrounded by hills, trees, fields in a valley in Spain. A man and his girlfriend sit at a table outside the station as they wait for a train to Madrid.

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Since it is hot, the man orders two bottles of beer. His girlfriend notes that the nearby hill looks like the white elephant to which the American man asserts that he has never seen one. As they continue with the discussion, they order more drinks and bicker about the taste of alcohol. The American man chastises her and marks that they should enjoy themselves.

The girl replies that she’s merrily having fun and retracts her earlier comment saying the hills do not look like a white elephant to her either. They continue ordering more drinks and the man mentions that he wants the girl called Jig to have an operation, but he does not specify what kind of operation. “He is agitated and tries to downplay the operational seriousness.” “The girl then hesitates for a while and asks what will happen after she goes through with the operation. The man affirms that everything will be fine just like the way they were before and that the problem will be fixed.

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He acknowledges that he knows people who have undergone the operation and have found happiness afterward. the American man agrees that it is the best course of action, but he won’t force her. The girl argues that she will undergo the operation as long as the man loved her, and they will live happily afterword. They argue for a while, and later the girl says she’s doing fine”( p.15).

On the other hand, “In Good Country People”, Mrs Hopewell Persistent optimism is composed by what appears to be her daughter Joy’s chosen depression. The nature of Joy’s attitude makes her change her name to Hulga, it is the ugliest name she thinks of. Her name matches wilt her faded sweatshirt and her wooden leg after she lost her leg in a hunting accident. “Her mother is frustrated by the bad temper of her daughter, and she is equally frustrated by her daughter taking Ph. D in philosophy because she is unable to identify her daughters accomplishes when compared to others”(p.71). Joy’s mother is worried that her daughter does not seem to enjoy anything not even young men. The mother is concerned when Hulga declines to allow her mother to keep the Bible in the parlor. Hulga confronts the Manley Pointer, An earnest bible salesman who wins Mr. Hopewell’s trust through his brave stories and religious devotion, making her agree to meet him for a picnic. At the picnic, it becomes apparent that pointer has similar ideas, and he is more cynical compared to Hulga. His hollow bible has playing card, condoms, and whiskey. His cynicism is what wins Hulgas confidence, making her let Pointer see the wooden leg and even remove it from her, despite feeling helpless without the leg. “Hulga falls in love with the Pointer, who is with her sexual fathers and wins her trust” (p.71).

“Hills like White Elephants” sets in a train station. This highlights the relationship between American man and a girl who has a dilemma. The Station is in a desolate valley that is a stopping point between Barcelona and Madrid. The main character and the other travelers must decide where to go with each other and continue their relationship. The short story reveals that the girl who was in a dilemma of having a baby or going through an abortion or operation. “The girl is torn between landscapes because she comments on the beauty of the hills in the walks to the end of the platform gazing out the brown emptiness around the station (p.52). On the Contrary, good country people takes place on a tenant farm in Georgia with the intention of creating a world view that narrows as well as hierarchical. Mr. Hopewell is the owner of the farm while pointer works on the farm. There are two larger settings In The story Including Mrs. Hopewells house, particularly the kitchen in the place beyond the house where Pointer seduces Hulga. The setting is significant because it is a site for female domestication. The other setting is at the picnic site where pointer seduces Hulga for his advantage rather than the interest of both him and Hulga.

Both “Good country people” and “Hills like white elephant” have a common theme of innocence and experience. In “The Good Country People”, Hulga does not understand that she is innocent and considers herself to be experienced because her education level gave her a chance to access philosophers such as Nietzsche and underlined the main point with blue pencils. Coincidentally, Pointer wears a blue shirt as. The lines in the Bible suitcase are blue, connecting her nihilism to evil masquerading as innocence. Hulga lacks the ability to recognize Pointers because in her point of view the evil has more meaning than god. The innocence of you enables pointers spiritually to rape her which symbolized by taking her wooden leg. Parrulli she thought she was the evil that was seducing an innocent man, but she realized The pointer is eviler than she thought. “Through pointers she falls into The world of experience, gaining knowledge that evil exists, there is a sense past the nothing she encompassed at the commencement of the story” (p.73). Similarly, in the “Hills like White elephants”, is a conversation that has both speakers communicating with one another showing the rift between them. As a result of their difference towards abortion which is referred to as the operation by the man. Frustrated, the man says anything to convince innocent girl to undergo the operation. The man affirms her that he loves her and will do everything to get back to the way they used to be. The girl seems to be innocent when she concedes to have the abortion for the sake of making him stop talking and listen to what she was trying to say and her point of you towards abortion. The inability of the girl to speak Spanish to the waitress Furthermore shows the level of innocence and dependence on the man. She has difficulties to express herself to others and towards the American man.

In both stories, the men are portrayed as dominant over women characters. The American man is petite as knowledgeable, has self-control, and is worldly even a hard situation. Even when he’s confused, he’s cool and he avoids the discussion of their problem. He handles their problem by oversimplifying the operation and pushing her to have an operation. The girl is innocent and appears to be confused and indecisive. Similarly, in the good country people, pointer uses the Bible to hide his intention and gain his trust from Helga, who is innocent and has a lead a little expense towards life. He seduces and even to the extent of removing her leg, which makes her helpless because she can’t walk without the wooden leg.

In conclusion at the picnic, it becomes apparent that pointer has similar ideas, and he has more cynical compared to Hulga. His hollow Bible has playing cards, condoms, and whiskey. His cynicism it is a whirlwind tell Gus confidence, making her leg pointer see the wooden leg and even remove it from her, despite feeling helpless without the leg. In the “Hills like White Elephants”, The man affirms that everything will be fine just like the way they were before and that the problem will be fixed. He acknowledges that he knows people who have undergone the operation and have happiness afterward. He agrees dispassionately, American man affirms her that it is the best course of action, But he won’t force her. In both stories, men are portrayed as dominant over the woman characters. The American man in “Hills like White Elephants” is portrayed as a good knowledgeable self-control and is worldly even in hard situations.

Cite this essay

A Comparative Analysis of “Hills Like White Elephant” and “Good Country People”. (2020, Sep 28). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/a-comparative-analysis-of-hills-like-white-elephant-and-good-country-people-essay

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