Feminism Criticism in "Hills Like White Elephants" by Ernest Hemingway

Many feminist critics explain the works of male authors like Ernest Hemingway with specific attention to women characters, in order to rage over the moral, political and social limitations that women traditionally are faced with.

Ernest Hemingway the author of the story, “Hills Like White Elephants”, shows many feminism interest. The character of the man in his story, is that of a a powerful and controlling man that uses his masculinity to pressure the woman that he is dating into agreeing with him regarding making a decision that she is obviously against.

Ernest Hemingway strikes many feminist literary critics as antagonistic towards women. Women feel delineated as a degraded influence on men. They also find themselves weakened by men’s masculine powers.

The story is about a couple, a girl called Jig and an American man. They are both sitting in a train station having a conversation. You can tell by where the story takes place that the procedure is taboo.

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Jig has travelled to a different town, to run away from the shame related with abortions. Although the disgrace of abortion is not as cruel as it once was, the emotive view hasn’t changed. The fear of having an abortion has not declined, the social consequences can be very agonizing. The personality of a women can be altered before and after having the abortion, as guilt can be overpowering after the experience. When a woman decides to go through with an abortion, only her closet friends and relative would know, as this can potentially lead her to be known as either a baby killer or a whore.

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The story continues with them both ordering beers, as they converse. It all seems casual until the conversation becomes tense. The American brings up the real issue between them. He begins to ask Jig about having an operation. You can tell that Jig doesn’t want to talk about it because she talks about something that doesn’t pertain to the Americans question. The American is never clear about what the operation really is, but the hints that the author gives are that it is an abortion. The man makes an effort to convince the woman Jig to have this operation. He tries to comfort her by saying that the decision is all hers, but then contradicts it by saying that he believes going through the operation is the best choice for them both. Jig seems undecided about what the man suggests and does not want to go through with the operation.

Although the story of Hills Like White Elephant was written in 1920’s, the story continues to be a hot bottom subject. Even though the word abortion is not used in the story, the readers can see that the man is trying to convince the woman of the benefits of having this operation. It is clear that Jig does not want to have to go through the procedure, but he continues to ignore her hints. The American resembles concern with her felling and thoughts, and tries to make is seem as if the operation is nothing to worry about. You can tell that the American is more interested in his own wellbeing.

Early in the 20th century, women were perceived as inferior to men. This time feminist want to demise the unwanted depiction of women. But Jig, the woman, makes her own decision to keep the baby. At the very end of the sorry, Jig goes against having the operation. This clearly shows, when the American says, “I’d better take the bags over to the other side of the station”. (Paragraph 108)It’s when he realizes from her refusal to further speak about the operation, that she has already made her decision. This decision lead the couple to the other side; the side of keeping the baby.

At the end when Jig was sitting at the table, she smiled at the American, signifying that she was happy with her decision of becoming a mother. In addition, Jig shows her feminist at the very end of the story when she says, “There’s nothing wrong with me. I feel fine”. (Paragraph 112) This was referring to the pregnancy, there is nothing wrong in having a child, an absolute victory above her boyfriend, men dominating women and above society.

Some critics believe that the ending of the story finishes with Jig agreeing to have the operation. But aftera comprehensive reading of the story, it is clear to me that Jig seizes the thought of keeping the child. In Jig doing this, she defies her dictatorial boyfriend and the inhibitions of her society.

Although women struggle to become powers in the work force, industry, and police, women are still expected to be compliant to the demands of men. Ernest Hemingway wrote this story in the 1920’s, when women were limited to conventional roles. But in today’s world, women like Jig, who took just one minute step by making her own decision by saying no.

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Feminism Criticism in "Hills Like White Elephants" by Ernest Hemingway. (2021, Aug 16). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/feminism-criticism-in-hills-like-white-elephants-by-ernest-hemingway-essay

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