Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway
“Soldier’s Home” by Ernest Hemingway Analytical Essay
One of the tragic consequences of any war is that it demolishes the traditional values and drastically changes the perceptions of the world by those who have gone through its horrors. Coming back to normal life appears a torture to such people since their vision of future existence runs counter to the standards of the peace time.
While civilian population seeks shelter from the harshness of the angry world in the safe harbor of family life, soldiers who come back from the war find themselves incompatible with the traditional pattern of life. Such dramatic situation is described in Ernest Hemingway’s short story “Soldier’s Home”, where the character of Harold Krebs reveals itself as a tragic hero who is opposed to the traditional world represented in the characters of the average citizens.
To unfold the characterization of Harold Krebs in “Soldier’s Home”, Hemingway employs a whole range of means. For one thing, Krebs’ character opens up through his actions, thoughts and reactions to the surrounding world. From the very beginning of the story the reader faces a series of monotonous repetitions that reflect an objective, dull, almost mechanical state of Harold’s mind: multiple reiterations of phrases like “There is a picture…”, “He liked…”, “He did not want…”, “It was simply not worth it” reflect Harold’s emotional deadness and indifference caused by the terrors of the war (Hemingway 165–167).
War was not the only cause for Harold’s apathy: he was met with estrangement by his own community who wanted not the truth but the embellished tales that were far from the war reality. Revolted by the necessity to tell those lies, Harold rejects the reality which is false for him and creates his own existence opposite to the conventional routine: instead of finding a job and settling down with a girl, he sleeps, reads books, plays pool and the clarinet. Thus he explicitly opposes himself to the society by means of his words and deeds.
For another thing, Harold’s surname is significant: Hemingway borrowed it from his friend married to a woman old enough to be his mother (Lynn 258). This fact signifies the importance placed on the dramatic conflict between Harold’s world-view and that of his mother’s. Hemingway launches this conflict to provide a deeper understanding of Harold’s incompatibility with his environment.
Setting off Harold’s lack of determination and definite life objectives, the foil character of his mother embodies all the traditional values: in trying to convince her son of the necessity for settling down and finding a job, Harold’s mother acts as a herald of conventional lifestyle that rather repulses than inspires Harold. Harold’s relaxed existence appears meaningless to his mother, who represents the traditional Protestant values of work and family, of everyone’s life subordinated to the eternal laws of the Kingdom of God.
The more painful and uncomfortable for Harold is his mother’s attempt to place him into that Kingdom, where he has actually never belonged (Hemingway 168). His repulsive reaction to his mother’s reproach, his disinterest and blunt confession of no love for anybody discloses the abyss between him and the conventional society. To survive in it, Harold unwillingly gives up to its demands and says farewell to his dream of a smooth life uncomplicated by social conventions.
The tragedy of Harold’s character is that once he loses everything in the frightful experience of war, coming back home becomes senseless to him. He does not feel the wish to do it; yet, due to the apathy and weakness of his nature, he returns one year later — too late to be accepted as a hero. Wrong time, wrong place — those are the adverse circumstances that ruin Harold’s vision of uncomplicated life. He becomes a piece of driftwood that floats according to the ways imposed by the traditional society which is too blind to see and accept his uniqueness.
Hemingway, Ernest. “Soldier’s Home.” Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature: Reading, Thinking, Writing (8th ed.). Ed. Michael Meyer. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2008. 165–170. Print.
Lynn, Kenneth Schuyler. Hemingway. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995. Print.
Hills Like White Elephants – Ernest Hemingway Analytical Essay
People often face situations that require them to make tough decisions and they have to live by them for the rest of their lives. In the story Hills Like White Elephants, Ernest Hemingway writes about a couple that is in a dilemma about an unborn child and they have to decide on the best decision to take regarding the pregnancy.
Jig and his companion the American are in Spain at a rail station taking drinks while awaiting a train. The American tells Jig to abort the fetus because the procedure is simple. He does not entertain the thought of becoming a parent. After, the deliberation on the issue, Jig decides to carry out the procedure.
Jig and the American man is an unmarried couple who have consummated their relationship and as a result, Jig is pregnant. Her boyfriend the American tells her to get rid of the pregnancy even though the author does not use the word abortion we can deduce its meaning from the conversation, “It’s just to let the air in” (Hemingway 1). The man tells Jig, “It’s really an awfully simple operation. It is not an operational at all” (Hemingway 1).
The American wants the fetus aborted because he does not want it to interrupt his adventurous lifestyle. He is a man who likes to travel from one place to another, their travel bags had labels from the various hotels they had checked into during their travels (Hemingway 1). On the other hand, Jig wants to have the baby as she hints in the conversation. She seems to be tired of the adventure and wants to settle down.
The American man manages to manipulate Jig psychologically by telling her not to abort if she does not want to because he senses her hesitance, “I think it’s the best thing to do. But I don’t want you to do it if you don’t really want to” (Hemingway 1). He tells her that after she aborts they can have everything they want in the world.
However, she does not agree with him and tells him that, “No, we can’t” (Hemingway 1). She is aware that once she loses her child she can never have it back, “And once they take it away, you never get it back” (Hemingway 1). In spite of that knowledge, she seems like she is willing to go through with the procedure not to lose her American. Jig seems afraid of losing the American man “And if I do it you’ll be happy and things will be like they were and you’ll love me” (Hemingway 1)?
The question shows that she is not ready to lose him and says, “Then I’ll do it. Because I don’t care about me” (Hemingway 1). The only thing she cares about is being with him and his love. She also wants to make him happy and reduce his worry because he says the only thing making them unhappy is that baby. Therefore getting rid of the baby will remove the hurdle to their happiness.
She also decides to abort because maybe she knows that marrying a man who is not wiling to settle down would only mean a difficult marriage. The American hints that he is ready to settle if she decides to keep the baby,
“You’ve got to realize …that I don’t want you to do it if you don’t want to. I’m
perfectly willing to go through with it if it means anything to you” (Hemingway 1).
This does not reassure her because the American keeps bullying her into procuring an abortion by drumming in the message that the procedure “is perfectly simple” (Hemingway 1). Thus, she chooses to have the abortion as it seems as the only way out of her current predicament. They do not discuss other options of dealing with the pregnancy such as giving up the baby for adoption and hence she might have decided to abort.
Finally, I think Jig should not abort simply because I belief that abortion is morally wrong. She does not seem to have her own voice. She is controlled by the American because she is willing to go along with his suggestions even if she does not agree with them.
She should keep the baby because she hints that she knows of people who have gone through the procedure and they are not happy. If she goes through with the procedure, she will live with regrets for the rest of her life because she will never be able to bring back her dead child to life again as most of the women who have gone through the procedure attest.
Even if, keeping and raising the child will be a burden she should be willing to bear the consequences of her actions instead of trying to look for an easier way out. She should be firm and tell the American that she will keep the baby and that it is time they stopped their adventurous lifestyle. On the contrary, if she goes through with the abortion she should take precaution not to become pregnant again by using contraceptives because she will find herself in the same predicament yet again.
Hemingway, Ernest . Hills Like White Elephants. gummyprint.com. n.d. Web.
Hemingway’s Code Hero in The Old Man and the Sea. Traits & Definition
Ernest Hemingway, a modernist,the author of The Old Man and the Sea, The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell To Arms, etc presents unique characters in each of his literature compositions. Referred to as the Hemingway code heroes, these characters portray stringently enforced laws of behavior, which allow them to live up to the richness of their lives. Hemingway sets a good illustration of code heroes. These are not people bearing occult powers or people campaigning for truth or justice.
To solve the misconception, Hemingway sets in with his The Old Man and the Sea, featuring Santiago, an aged angler and an epitome of code heroes. Santiago displays many code hero qualities, including the three essential code qualities of honor and integrity, grace under pressure, and determination to succeed.
Honor and Integrity
Santiago lives his life with honor and integrity. With this quality, he passes for a code hero, as the author illustrates. He is a man who knows well that respect is two-way traffic, and for him to be respected, he ought to respect others in return. However, according to him, it matters less whether he will gain respect by the end of the day.
All he knows is that he bears the obligation to respect people as well as their decisions. Though aged, he enjoys the company of the young boy, Manolin. On one fishing occasion, Manolin tells Santiago, “And the best fisherman is you…No I know others better” (23). This drives home the point that Santiago is a man of honor, not necessarily in the field of fishing, but in life in general.
He deserves credit as the boy puts it. In his struggle with the fish, Santiago, as Hemingway’s code hero in The Old Man and the Sea, utters words that point out his level of integrity. He respects and loves, not only people but also animals. ”Fish, I love you and respect you very much…But I will kill you dead before this day ends” (Hemingway 54).
In addition, he uplifts the dignity of all people, despite their differences. He symbolically says that all of them can fish to show how he respects their varied capabilities. Building on these deductions, it is inferable that honor and integrity form part of Santiago’s life as one of the main values.
Grace Under Pressure
Santiago displays grace under pressure when he tries to catch the marlin and get it back home. It costs him his time, energy, and a good deal of patience to make the catch. Although he finally makes a catch, it proves hard for him to draw it into the boat. However, he does not give up. His eyes are set only to his goal, a token of grace. In fact, as his hands and fingers ache because of his struggle to pull the marlin, “He rubbed the cramped hand against his trousers and tried to gentle the fingers” (Hemingway 60).
The gentling of the fingers is the sign of grace during the pressing situation of his hands. In another case, Santiago symbolically graces himself with the words, “But I must have the confidence, and I must be worthy of the great DiMaggio who does all things perfectly even with the pain of the bone spur in his heel” (Hemingway 68).
He strives to imagine a day when he will be as great as DiMaggio, who is a famous baseball champion. He is his model, and therefore, even if pressed by life’s circumstances, as his fishing, he knows that he can pass for a great person. Thus, the author qualifies in developing the character of grace under pressure as possessed by code heroes like Santiago.
Determination to Succeed
According to Hemingway’s code hero definition, this is a person who possesses courage the determination to succeed, Although Santiago has not caught a fish for a very long time, he sails to the sea every day and is determined to succeed in the catching. Even after sailing far in the sea without making any catch, he never gives up. “Everything about him was old except his eyes, and they were the same color as the sea and were cheerful and undefeated” (Hemingway 49). His wide-open and cheerful eyes in his old age show how he is determined to live and not to die.
When he catches the huge marlin fish, it pulls him for three consecutive days and nights, but Santiago does not let go of it. In addition, the blood that the fish smears on the seawaters attracts other predators that fight to take the fish from the hands of Santiago. In response, he fights them back, killing as many of them as possible.
In the process, he says, “I’ll fight them until I die” (Hemingway 115), words that reveal his determination to succeed in taking the fish off the sea. In his claim, “…a man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated” (Hemingway 103), which is no more than a sign of his determination. Therefore, Santiago bears the code hero characteristic feature of being determined to succeed.
Santiago has the important code hero traits of honor and integrity, grace under pressure, and determination to succeed. Hemingway qualifies in defining a code hero.
Technically, he drives away the prevailing misconception about code heroes. The aged angler carries the day through the way he stands as an illustration of code heroes. Though aged, he stands out as a man of honor and integrity. He owes respect and love to all, whether young or old.
Moreover, as an angler and considering the struggles he encounters, he pictures grace in every pressing situation that comes his way. He manifests his determination to succeed when he decides never to let go of the marlin despite the other fish, which try to pull it out of his hands. To sum up, He exemplifies a Hemingway code hero.
Hemingway, Ernest. The Old Man and the Sea. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2005. Print.
“A & P” by John Updike and “Soldiers Home” by Ernest Hemingway Essay
“A & P” by John Updike and “Soldiers Home” by Ernest Hemingway are stories of two young men facing different situations in their lives. Krebs Harold had gone to war at a young age and had a rough experience all through. When he returned to his home community, his motherland did not appreciate his values and he found it very hard to cope with life.
He was living a life without joy. He was not able to love or appreciate the values of his community. This made him not to be appreciated since his age mates were already settling with good jobs and getting married. He lived an alienated life. On the other hand in A & P, Sammy has a life that was filled with sarcasm and humor. He was always sarcastic and interested in girls.
Setting and Character Development
In A & P, a nineteen year old boy Sammy had just completed his secondary education. He started working in a supermarket. His views about life were shaped in this place. His daily activities in the supermarket brought him across many girls. His encounter with them revealed his thoughts. The writer gave a vivid description of the girls:
In walks these three girls in nothing but bathing suits…She was a chunky kid, with a good tan and a sweet broad soft looking can with those two crescents of white just under it, where the sun never seems to hit, at the top of the backs of her legs. (Updike 1)
Sammy’s life was filled with humor. The writer used the first person and this gives the reader a direct message from the protagonist. Sammy was a young man whose transition from childhood to adulthood was posing challenges that made him wonder what life was all about. Initially, he had aspirations that he would become a greater person in the supermarket. The most striking thing while working was the presence of these girls who came in bathing suites.
The presence of the girls at the supermarket confused Sammy and at one time this confusion led him to make a second call to a customer that he had already called. The author used imagery to describe the situation at every given moment. He described the dressing of the girls as “They didn’t even have shoes on…the lips bunched together under here no se…With black hair that hadn’t quite frizzed right” (Updike, 1).
Sammy is seen to be a very complicated person as everything mattered to him. He was very hard working and looked forward to a great future in his career. He even aspired to hold a higher position in this job. However, after some time Sammy was seen getting bored with the job and he found it to be quite boring. Although Sammy’s parents en courage him to work harder, it was clear he had lost hope of progressing on that job.
Krebs in the story Soldier’s Home is depicted as a person who had gone through hard times. As a young soldier he experienced brutality in the war. He had a wish in his heart which he wanted to express when he went home:
He wished to tell the truth behind the engagements he fought in, while they bask in the glory their fictional tales of war and detailed accounts of German women found chained to machine guns in the Argonne forest. (DocShare 1)
It is shown that the home community did not provide him a conducive environment to express himself. The community provided a harsh environment that did not give him the freedom of expression. He therefore did not have an audience to share with. This made him to start telling lies so as to get people’s attention (Hemingway 1). This behavior that he adapted is seen to have changed his way of life especially in regard to the way he viewed people.
Krebs did not have a quick way of expressing himself and thus kept on feeling alienated alone. His father was not mostly involved with his issues. Krebs thought about girls he had encountered. He did not like the German and the French girls and seemingly he did not like girls at all; he claimed that a person just requires girls on when thinking about them. He viewed girls as being complicated and therefore thought that he it was only fair if people or rather men kept away from them (Hemingway 1).
Most of the things that Krebs did were in contrast to what he wanted. For example, he was forced to tell lies so as to get approval by those around him. Other things which occurred against his wish include the young man who came home: “He did not want to come home. Still, he had come home” (Hemingway 1). In a different setting, Krebs is seen not able to approach girls which he admired.
The story was set in a family setting where the character of the parents is revealed by the content. Krebs’ mother was very concerned about the son; she took breakfast to his bedroom. Krebs did not believe that his father cared for him; this was clearly shown when his father allowed him to use his car in the evenings and Krebs in turn was convinced that it was his mother who had convinced his father to allow the car to be used by Krebs.
Religious background is deeply rooted in the community. Krebs’ mum was deeply committed to the issues of the kingdom and this led to a conflict between her and Krebs when she reprimanded him in regard to his idleness: “There can be no idle hands In His Kingdom” (Hemingway 1).
In reply, Krebs informed his mother that he did not belong to that kingdom. She told him that she prayed for him all day long. One day his mother prayed for him while they were in the dining room as they were taking their breakfast. After this, Krebs felt uncomfortable being around home and consequently left to find a good place elsewhere (Hemingway 1).
The two stories expose two characters of people. In the first, Sammy did not have the wealth to enjoy. He appreciated the girls in every way and gave a detailed description. He lived in an environment that did not ignore him. This made him to have self confidence to live his life and did not pretend or deny his feelings. Krebs’ case was however different.
His parents’ approach to solve his problem only made the situation worse. He felt inadequate and unable to hold and cope with the pressure that his parents brought along. The two stories have a different place of setting and different time. A & P was told as Sammy worked in a supermarket while in Soldiers home Harold Krebs is raised in Oklahoma in 1917.
Both protagonists, Sammy and Krebs became dissatisfied with their environment. The relationship with girls is not clear as both do not have the courage to approach girls (Hemingway 1). Sammy was emotional while Harold was not.
The two stories are a good representation of two young men in different societies. They were in their time of transition from childhood to adulthood. They are seen to have chosen jobs without caution and not quite sure of what they wanted to do with their lives. As time took its course, they realized there was a need for them to take responsibility in order for them to enjoy the freedom that they needed. They moved out of their status quo to go and discover what life could offer them without the influence of the family.
DocShare. Ernest Hemingway’s Soldiers Home. Doc Share, 2011. Web.
Hemingway. Strong Brain, Ernest Hemingway: soldiers home. Strong Brain, 2010. Web.
Updike. A & P. Tiger Town, n.d. Web.
Was Ernest Hemingway a Misogynist? A Sexism Research Paper
The debate on whether Ernest Hemingway is a misogynist still rages with critics and adherents backing their side of the story. Nevertheless, an essay with a closer investigation into his books might give a hint or two concerning this controversial topic that has refused to exit from scholarly circles.
According to Johnson, “misogyny is a cultural attitude of hatred for females because they are female (1); therefore, a misogynist is someone who upholds this culture. From Hills like White Elephants to The Short Life of Francis Macomber, Hemingway’s style of writing is full of misogyny. It becomes effortless, therefore, to state with clarity Hemingway’s perspective towards women in general.
Firstly, in the majority of his short stories, unhealthy man-woman relationships are prevalent, characterized by imperfections and doomed to failure. Interestingly, in all these cases, women are to blame, as they appear nagging, inadequate, domineering, and selfish. Generally, in Hemingway’s eyes, women are utter failures plunged in emotional apathy by their inability to express their feelings. In short, Ernest Hemingway’ssexist nature is exposited in Hills like White Elephants and The Short Life of Francis Macomber.
The Short Life of Francis Macomber
The main character in this story that turns out to be pathetic is a woman, Margot Macomber. As the story opens, Margot is domineering, literally dictating the life of her husband, Francis. Interestingly, when Francis wields courage to rise above his wife Margot, she cowardly takes his life. What a timid way of dealing with the struggle for power.
Nevertheless, in this case, Hemingway mentions that the only way women can remain in power is through intimidation. As aforementioned, at the beginning of the story, Margot is tyrannizing, while Francis is intimidated. Wilson, the hunter, is the only man who exudes any trait of manhood. Hemingway uses Wilson deliberately as an ideal man that Francis would be if Margot got out of the way.
Hemingway does not hide the uselessness of Wilson in the eyes of Margot; she only uses him as a toy, and even after they have sex Hemingway still questions it. He says, “What’s in her heart, God knows, Wilson thought. She had not talked much last night. At that, it was a pleasure to see her” (Hemingway 21).
Even Wilson feels his uselessness in this woman’s life as he concludes only God knows her intentions in taking him to bed. In this incidence, Hemingway depicts Margot as an emotionally incompetent being who cannot express her feelings freely and earn her place in a man’s heart by merit. She has to employ the only tool she has, intimidation. This is just but an introduction to many of Hemingway’s misogynist nature through Margot.
Francis finally starts to show gradual change towards reclaiming his position as the head of the family only to face a stubborn and scheming Margot. Being the man he is, Wilson sees and applauds Francis’ efforts towards becoming a man, albeit minimal. Pointing at Hemingway’s misogyny, Weeks offers, “Wilson… is the man free of woman and fear. He is the standard of manhood…His dominance over the lady is apparent from the moment she sees him blast the lion from which Macomber ran” (Weeks 120).
Not that Margot cares or even loves Wilson; far from it, she is only interested in the boldness, a trait of masculinity that he possesses. Unfortunately, due to her weaknesses, Margot cannot contain a permanently dominating man in her life; she can only have one on demand, and Wilson comes in handy in this case. Hemingway hates Margot by virtue of being a woman, and this underscores the misogynist he is.
Hemingway’s choice of words exposes his dark side, the grimy side of a man who would otherwise pass for a good writer of all the times. At the slightest show of Macomber’s courage, Francis becomes “clearly a changed being, one who will never allow his wife’s domination again. Complementing this reversal of roles, we find that Margot had been afraid during the chase, and now, feeling nauseous, wants refuge in the ambiguous and evasive shade” (Monk 136).
What more could a weak, insufficient, selfish, and emotionally pathetic woman do? Well, Hemingway knows better, and the best one can offer in reciprocation is hatred, which is something that he offers philanthropically. He hates women with passion; no wonder, Margot could only be a failure in this story. To cap her weaknesses, Margot kills Francis after realizing his growing dominance in their relationship. Evidently, Francis’ life is shorter than what Hemingway evokes in the title of the short story, courtesy of Margot.
Hills like White Elephants
The unlucky woman in this short story is Jig, an incompetent woman incapable of communicating her feelings or making any independent judgment. Hemingway introduces Jig as ‘the girl,’ “the American and girl with him sat at a table in the shade, outside the building” (Hemingway 87).
Jig here passes for a nameless girl, at least in Hemingway’s perspective. Throughout the short story, Hemingway fails to bring out the “girl’s” emotions or attitudes concerning anything that happens around her. Hemingway paints Jig as a clueless, pathetic, and tasteless woman who cannot make simple decisions like what to drink. She admits that it is hot; nevertheless, she cannot state with clarity what drink to take.
Instead, she asks, “What should we drink” (Hemmingway, 87). As aforementioned, Hemingway deliberately chooses his words to belittle women at every encounter. The fact that Jig cannot take a stand and say I will take this or that opting to consult the American is a strong indication of how frail she is. Jig’s naivety comes out clearly; after it emerges that, she cannot even order the drinks, for she does not understand Spanish.
Therefore, she has to depend on the male figure in this case. One can conclude that feminism in Hemingway’s works is not present in any aspect. As opposed to The Short Life of Francis Macomber, where Margot is domineering, Hemingway uses Hills like White Elephants to show how voiceless and weak women are by their failure to stand on their own. The indecisiveness of Hemingway’s female characters stands out conspicuously when the issue of abortion raises in this short story.
Jig knows for sure she does not want to abort her child; however, she chooses to remain silent about the issue. When the American suggests, “I know you wouldn’t mind it, Jig. It is not anything. It’s just to let the air in” (Hemingway 90), Jig remains silent. She finally gives in citing, “I don’t care about me…I care about you” (Hemingway 90).
In this case, Hemingway gives the impression that women are indecisive, bound to compromise their principles in the name of love and care. If Jig does not care about herself, she cannot probably care about anyone else. One cannot give what she/he does not have. How can she care about the American if she does not care about herself? Hemingway uses this instance to ridicule women and satisfy his misogyny.
Reducing women to such humbling levels is tantamount to stripping them of their dignity and self-worth. Nevertheless, the reason why Hemingway does this is that he hates women with a passion for purposes best known to him. The reader can only speculate, and the only valid speculation here is that he hates women by virtue of being women, and this underscores him being a misogynist.
To some extent, Jig is also gullible. She keeps on changing topics even in the middle of a seemingly essential discussion. For instance, she keeps on referring to the ‘bead curtain,’ which is unrelated to the point in dispute; that is, abortion. Portraying women this way strips Hemingway of any respect for women exposing the misogynist novelist that he is.
Whether Hemingway is a misogynist or not, is no longer a point of debate; his works speak it all as exposited in this writing. Women, just like anybody else, have shortcomings and strengths alike; unfortunately, Hemingway is blind towards the strengths, he can only see the weaknesses.
Consequently, he writes what he sees viz. weaknesses, and this explains why his writings concentrate on exposing women’s weaknesses. Margot, in The Short Life of Francis Macomber, rules her husband only to silence, inferiority screams that rage within her. On the other hand, Jig in Hills like White Elephants cannot make even a simple decision like choosing the drink to take. At his best, Hemingway is a misogynist, a woman-hater for no apparent reason.
Hemingway, Ernest. The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway. New York: Scribner, 2003.
Johnson, Allan. The Blackwell Dictionary of Sociology: A User’s Guide to Sociological Language. Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishers Inc, 2000.
Monk, Donald. “Hemingway’s Territorial Imperative.” The Yearbook of English Studies 8.1 (1978): 125-140.
Weeks, Robert. Hemingway: A Collection of Critical Essays. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1962.
Ernest Hemingway’s novel The Sun Also Rises Explicatory Essay
In Ernest Hemingway’s novel The Sun Also Rises, women are a ubiquitous part of the story, and even central to the plot. They vary greatly in their character and role in life. They range from the prostitute Georgette to the anxious Frances to the cool and androgynous Brett. In all cases, they are depicted via their behavior, actions, and the opinions of others. The reader sees these women largely through the eyes of the narrator, a wounded WWI veteran.
Hemingway makes very little effort to surmise or hypothesize about their actual internal thoughts, feelings or motivations. These women represent three very divergent ways of being a woman, and presumably, their interior lives must reflect these differences. Despite the limited interior perspective that Hemingway provides, and his relentless focus, instead, on action, his women are nonetheless vivid and memorable characters
The four women who appear in greatest detail in The Sun Also Rises are Georgette Hobin, Frances Clyne, Mrs. Braddock (who is not introduced using her Christian, or given, name), and Lady Brett Ashley. Each one fits well into a different demographic category and niche in society. Although Hemingway is clearly trying to describe what he sees, he nonetheless seems to assume that his readers share a knowledge of what these women would look like or how they would behave, just based on their roles in society.
Georgette Hobin is a sex worker who catches the eye of a potential customer; in this case, Jake Barnes, the narrator, while walking the streets. Jake describes her as being ‘good-looking” and “rather pretty”. These value-laden words seemto breach of Hemingway’s own journalistic rules;he is renowned for showing rather than telling and avoiding words without specific meaning(Hemingway Chapter 3).
The modern assessment of Georgette’s looks might be different. This suggests that he had some very definite ideas of what constituted good looks, which the narrator notes she preserves by not smiling and thereby revealing horrible teeth(Hemingway Chapter 3). This is perhaps a marker of social class. Georgette is also apparently prejudiced against Belgian Flemish-speakers, and makes a joke about their dinner being better than what is available in Brussels (Hemingway Chapter 3).
As a real prostitute, an “actual harlot”, she constitutes a novelty Brett’s young male companions. However, Georgette’s big moment is recounted much laterabout the fight she gets into with the nightspot owner’s daughter, wherein she accuses her of being a prostitute as well (Hemingway Chapter 4). Although she has spirit and character, she seems to be woman as object, to be used as needed, whether for sex or companionship, and passed from hand to hand.
Frances Clyne is Robert Cohn’s ‘almost’ fiancée. She is described as good-looking and tall; more value-laden terms, as well having been possessive and exploitative of Robert Cohn, at least earlier of their relationship. At this point, she is desperate to get Robert to formalize their relationship.
She has burned her bridges with her first husband, and now worries about lonelinessand impoverishment. In her view, Robert aims for celebrity authorship for the accompanying sex with literary groupies. To a modern reader, her assessment of Bob’s situation, and aims, seems quite accurate.
However, Hemingway depicts Frances’ listing unpleasant truths about Bob, for example, his self-interestedness, his weepiness over his own cavalier treatment of his wife/girlfriends, his exploitation of his personal affairs as material for his next novel, his cheapness, and so forth, as highly negative(Hemingway Chapter 5). In that era, a modern reader might infer, a woman was culpable for publicly giving her fiancé blunt feedback about himself.
’ implacable critique makes the narratorflee in order to avoid hearing more(Hemingway Chapter 5).She reminds the reader of the Furies, pursuing Cohn relentlessly until and unless paid off to go away. Hemingway does not mention her again for most of the novel. She seems to be woman as irritant.
Mrs. Braddocks, whose husband is also introduced without a given name, is described as Canadian, and possessing the “easy social graces” that Hemingway associates with that nationality. She misses Jake’s joke of introducing Georgette under a more elegant, French-sounding name than Hobin, to Anglophone ears, suggesting that she is either dim or poorly informed(Hemingway Chapter 3)Mrs. Braddocks seems to be Hemingway’s image of the little woman; happy wife to a relatively happy husband.
Lady Brett Ashley is the most crucial female figure in the novel. She is an odd mixture of sexiness and androgyny, affection and withholding, sexual promiscuity and integrity, class and degradation.This “remarkably attractive woman “ (in spite of an awkward nose) (Hemingway Chapter 13)has some attributes that suggest gender ambiguity to a modern reader.She wears revealing clothes that are not necessarily girly, like a man’s felt hat (Hemingway Chapter 13), and often calls herself “chap” (Hemingway Chapter 3).
Although engaged to the absent Mike Campbell, she is generous with her sexual favors (Hemingway Chapter 5). She has been involved (at a minimum) with her deceased true love, Lord Ashley,Campbell, Cohn, and Romero,and lusted after by Gorton, Barnes, and much of the Basque region. Jake is “sick” from the war, and cannot engage in intercourse, so he is ruled out as a potential husband (Hemingway Chapter 3).
Each man treats her very differently. Lord Ashley threatened her physically. Robert Cohn worships her. Pedro Romero wants to tame her into a more traditional woman. Jake pines for her helplessly and gets her out of trouble. Her fiancée calls her “a piece” but accepts her infidelities as long as he approves of the men(Hemingway).
This seems more complimentary than Robert Cohn calling her Circe (Hemingway Chapter 13),which suggests that she appeals to the worst in men and makes the worst of men. It is also more complimentary than the villagers hanging garlic around her neck (Hemingway Chapter 15) suggesting vampire-like sucking of life from men, or a “sadist”.
However, her behavior suggests that these are accurate characterizations. Her self-centered approach to life can be summarized by her assertion that her fling with Romero made her feel “quite set up”, which sounds exploitative in any era(Hemingway Chapter 19).
By novel’s end, she has left Romero with a shattered face and lost credibility amongst his serious supporters and colleagues(Hemingway Chapter 19), Cohn with a shattered spirit(Hemingway), Campbell with embarrassment, and Barnes with despair and his continuing alcohol abuse problem, with a bottle of wine for, “good company” (Hemingway Chapter 17)She seems to be Hemingway’s idea of woman as a deity with the power to attract as well as to destroy.
Hemingway employs the impact and perception of his characters on and by those around them to paint their images in the reader’s mind. This allows the reader to infer their internal motivations and thoughts. This technique works well, despite almost a century of distance from the very specific social environment in which the action of The Sun Also Rises takes place.
His female characters are no exception. They represent a range of options for female identity, fromtraditional wife/would-be wife, to the most marginalized street-walker, to a woman who seems liberated (although liberated for what, one might ask). Hemingway represents his women with implicit assumptions about their roles and appearance, but manages to make them living people nonetheless.
Athabasca University. “Ernest Hemingway.” 2013. Athabasca University. Web.
Hemingway, Ernest. The Sun Akso Rises. New York: Cherles Scribner’s Songs, 2006. Print.
- “Say what you see not what you’d like to see. Be brief, be vigorous, be smooth, be positive. Avoid the use of adjectives like “splendid,” “gorgeous,” “grand.” Write short sentences, and use short first paragraphs.” (Athabasca University)
- Many Europeans at that time might have displayed the results of worse dental health than Americans, due to war and all the disruption of nutrition and health care
- Circe was the frightening sorceress in The Odyssey who transformed visiting sailors into pigs.
Different Aspects of Culture in Hemingway, Wilson and O’Connor Analytical Essay
In the short stories The Three Day Blow by Ernest Hemingway, The Man who Shot Snapping Turtles by Edmund Wilson and A Good Man is Hard to Find, by Flannery O’Connor, certain cultural features described in the fiction persist in the United States of today.
In The Three Day Blow the cultural element described that persists in American society concerns the fear of commitment that many men harbor and how that fear conflicts with their fear of being alone. In The Man who Shot Snapping Turtles, a cultural feature described in the story that still exists in American culture today is the belief that some of the animals created by God are more desirable than others.
In A Good Man is Hard to Find, the cultural feature that the story describes which continues today is the belief that the past represents a better version of American culture than the present, and that the current culture of American society is badly degraded from its former heyday.
The first story to be analyzed is The Three Day Blow by Ernest Hemingway. The Three Day Blow is the oldest of the three stories, first published 1925, yet this story describes a cultural feature very much alive in American society today – the fear of marriage and the conflict that arises in men when they must decide between getting married and staying alone.
Often the fear of being alone is greater than the fear of being married, thus marriage wins out; however the conflict never really dies. Hemingway illustrates the heart of this conflict at the end of the story, after Nick and Bill have had a lot to drink and have become more liberal with their truths.
Bill tells Nick that he was “very wise…to bust off that Marge business…It was the only thing to do. If you hadn’t, by now you’d be back home working trying to get enough money to get married….Once a man’s married he’s absolutely bitched, Bill went on. He hasn’t got anything more…He’s done for. You’ve seen the guys that get married…They get this sort of fat married look” (Hemingway 23).
This is the first mention we have heard of Nick’s former girlfriend, and in the face of Bill’s speech, the character Nick “said nothing” (Hemingway 24). Presumably Nick regrets not marrying the woman in question, not only because he is silent, but because “the liquor had all died out of him and left him alone” (Hemingway 24).
In this story Hemingway describes the cultural fear – from the point of view of males, however the feeling affects both genders – of commitment and the feeling of loneliness that many single people experience persists today.
The second story under analysis is The Man who Shot Snapping Turtles by Edmund Wilson. This short story was first published in the Atlantic Monthly magazine in 1942, over 60 years ago, yet a significant cultural feature found in this story that still exists in American culture today is the understanding that some of God’s creatures are better than others.
In The Man who Shot Snapping Turtles Mr. Stryker makes a distinction between the ducks as desirable and the snapping turtles as undesirable, even though in cultural Christian understanding, God created both. “This time Mr. Stryker decided to do a better job. He came to see me again and startled me by holding forth in a vein that recalled the pulpit.
“If God has created the mallard,” he said, “A thing of beauty and grace, how can He allow these dirty filthy mud-turtles to prey upon His handiwork and destroy it?” (Wilson 257). The narrator responds that “the reptiles came before the birds. And they survive with the strength God gave them” (Wilson 257).
To which Mr. Stryker counters “how do we know that God isn’t getting old? How do we know that some of His lowest creatures aren’t beginning to get out of hand and clean up on the higher ones?” (Wilson 257).
We see this hierarchy applied to animals and perpetuated today in American society in the distinction made between so called undesirable creatures such as rats and roaches and so called beautiful and desirable creatures such as swans, horses or dogs.
The last story under discussion is A Good Man is Hard to Find, by Flannery O’Connor. A Good Man is Hard Find was published in 1955, however to this day some of the cultural aspects of American life that it describes are still in place. The most significant cultural aspect of this that is still relevant today is the belief that the American present is a degraded version of its past.
The grandmother of A Good Man is Hard to Find represents the belief that Americans in the past treated each other better, had better manners and were more trustworthy. We see this belief illustrated in the section of the story when the grandmother and the owner of the diner, Red Sammy, have a conversation about how things used to be compared to how they are now.
“You can’t win, he said. You can’t win…and he wiped his sweating red face off with a gray handkerchief. These days you don’t know who to trust…Ain’t that the truth? A good man is hard to find, Red Sammy said. Everything is getting terrible. I remember the day you could go off and leave your screen door unlatched. Not no more. He and the grandmother discussed better times” (O’Connor 235).
Culturally, the understanding that the present has become worse than the past, and that morals have eroded over time, is still very prevalent in American society. Conversations such as the following between Red Sam and the grandmother could have been written today, rather than over 50 years ago.
“Red Sam said it was no use talking about it, she was exactly right. Listen, the grandmother almost screamed, I know you’re a good man. You don’t look a bit like you have common blood. I know you must come from nice people!” (O’Connor 235).
The short stories The Three Day Blow by Ernest Hemingway, The Man who Shot Snapping Turtles by Edmund Wilson and A Good Man is Hard to Find, by Flannery O’Connor all contain certain cultural features that can still be found in the United States of today, even though each story was published in the last century.
In The Three Day Blow the cultural element described that persists in American society centers around fear of commitment; in The Man who Shot Snapping Turtles, the cultural feature we still see in the culture of the United States today is the hierarchal belief that some animals created by God are better than others.
In A Good Man is Hard to Find, the story describes a belief that the American past was infinitely better than its current manifestation, and that the present culture of American society is a shoddy version of a former glorious past.
Hemingway, Ernest. “The Three Day Blow.” 50 Great Short Stories. Ed. Milton Crane. New York: Random House, 1988. 16- 27. Print.
O’Connor, Flannery. “A Good Man is Hard to Find.” 50 Great Short Stories. Ed. Milton Crane. New York: Random House, 1988. 229-245. Print.
Wilson, Edmund. “The Man Who Shot Snapping Turtles.” 50 Great Short Stories. Ed. Milton Crane. New York: Random House, 1988. 254-267. Print.
Hills Like White Elephants by Ernest Hemingway Essay
Published in 1927, Ernest Hemingway’s short story “Hills Like White Elephants” is a pinnacle of conversation; that is, more under the surface of the interaction between a girl named Jig and an American man. At first glance, this seems like a simple, sometimes intense communication between two adults waiting for their train, which is going to Madrid. However, a closer reading reveals that they are discussing whether Jig should undergo a “procedure.” At a time when abortion was illegal in most parts of Europe and America and where women might have been weaned from the Catholic Church if they had an abortion, suddenly the conversation between the American man and Jig becomes one of the most important, both for their beings and for their relationship. However, no one wants to communicate what choice they would like to make openly. This article discusses topics of choice, communication disruptions, and gender roles.
Characters and Theme
The plot of the story develops in such a way that the word “abortion” itself is never pronounced. In various situations, only the phrase “white elephants” appears, highlighting different facets of its meaning. The great writer’s style, like the underwater part of an iceberg, hides not only the word “abortion” but also the fear of a young girl, unaware of pain for an unborn child, her flesh from her flesh, which is not destined to see God’s light. The girl’s dream of a child is inextricably linked with her vision of happiness and measured family life. These properties are genetically embedded in every woman, they are the essential purpose and obligation to be the parent, the one who gives life and the very name of the first woman “Eve” means “life.” For the heroine, abortion is the collapse of last hope, leading only to the continuation of a meaningless life.
Let us recall how masterfully Hemingway draws hills whitening in the sun, scorched by the mercilessly blazing sun, the earth and green fields, the shady banks of a rivulet, and the moving shadows of clouds. These different frames are full of functional significance. These are the stages of the girl’s state of mind, which is likened to scorched earth. At first, the comparison of the hills with white elephants evokes admiration for the girl. In the middle, this image reappears, but this time there are notes of heartbreaking doubt. In the final part, white elephants appear, but the girl’s gaze only sees how they descend into the scorched valley. Together with the dream of a child, the colors of the world and hopes for happiness die for the heroine: they fade together. Making a decision, which is to kill her unborn child, turns into the most profound psychological stress, and the girl subconsciously knows that she says goodbye to the highest value.
There is a perception of meaninglessness, absurdity, an irreplaceable void of life, a sense of terrible spiritual poverty. In order to show her emotional conflict and struggle to explain it, Jig says: “Can’t we stop talking?”1. She feels that life will become unstable, lose stability, love will become soulless and will turn into bitter loneliness. In this life, fiction will take the place of genuine values. The gloom is already spreading not only around the person, and it is already powerfully penetrating the person himself. A man has nothing to rely on, and no one is waiting for him. He is powerless before the power of chaos, “No, we can’t. It is not ours anymore,” – this bitter remark of Jig describes the spiritual condition of a young woman in the best possible way2.
It seems that the story is an excellent example of understanding the controversial bioethical problem: the problem of abortion, mother, and fetus, in which many aspects can be distinguished. This is a problem of the status of a human embryo, as well as the question of whether it is an individualized human life from the moment of fertilization. This question can be approached from different perspectives: biology and genetics, sociology, law (civil or criminal), psychological, historical, cultural, theological, and moral. From a bioethical perspective, all of the above positions should be combined to draw a solid conclusion.
Some readers, summing up the laws of genetics and embryology, might conclude that the fetus from the moment of conception has its determined biological reality. It is a fully distinguished human individual in development, which autonomously, step by step, continuously creates its form, carrying out, following the plans laid down in it, the project outlined in its genome. This fact is scientifically established and should be accepted as given, not like anyone else’s opinion. Since the embryo is already a developing individual, which will become a specific person, we can freely talk about the ontological and ethical value of the newly conceived fetus. Starting from the first instant of the emergence of human life, the human individual is a human person. Any criticism of this position will be a denial of the ontological approach to personality.
From the very first days, the embryo enters into a special kind of dialogue with the mother’s body, blocking the production of hormones through specific signals to the pituitary gland and other internal organs. Thus, the process causes a combination of changes in the mother’s body, forcing it to “recognize” the presence of a new life, a unique personality3. Psychoanalysts prove that the fetus is in social relations with the mother, accumulating in-depth experiences, feelings, positive and negative impulses that, even in adulthood, will leave their imprint on it4. Sociologists say that it is not relationships that determine the reality of the subject, but the existence of the issue that makes interpersonal relationships possible5. However, a human fetus does possess a partial form of consciousness due to its responsiveness to outside signals.
It is critical to note that the given book gives a clear perspective on the issue of abortion. Under the current legislation, affirming the unrestricted right of every woman to have an abortion, is an example of a misunderstanding and use of freedom. The main character does not precisely show her stance on the issue, but either way, one’s independence will be limited. In the framework of the strict logic of personalistic philosophy derived from the book, we can summarize that the embryo or the fetus, as a result of a continuous process of development programmed from the inside, is a unique human individual possessing actual social value. Besides, the embryo or the fetus has a genuine connection and a true destiny to become a person. Consequently, abortion is a crime against the life of a human person.
Cornell, Drucilla. The Imaginary Domain: Abortion, Pornography and Sexual Harassment. New York: Routledge, 2016.
Hemingway, Ernest. Hills Like White Elephants. New York: Men Without Women, 1927.
Sanger, Carol. “Talking About Abortion.” Social & Legal Studies 25, no. 6 (2016): 651–666.
Sisson, Gretchen, and Katrina Kimport. “Depicting Abortion Access on American Television, 2005–2015.” Feminism & Psychology 27, no. 1 (2017): 56–71.
- Ernest Hemingway, Hills Like White Elephants (New York: Men Without Women, 1927), 3.
- Hemingway, Hills Like White Elephants, 3.
- Carol Sanger, “Talking About Abortion,” Social & Legal Studies 25, no. 6 (2016): 658.
- Gretchen Sisson and Katrina Kimport, “Depicting Abortion Access on American Television, 2005–2015,” Feminism & Psychology 27, no. 1 (2017): 64.
- Drucilla Cornell, The Imaginary Domain: Abortion, Pornography, and Sexual Harassment (New York: Routledge, 2016), 112.
‘Hills Like White Elephants’ by E. Hemingway Literature Analysis Report (Assessment)
The story, set in a bar at a Madrid train station is about an American man and a Spanish woman having a conversation about possibilities of aborting their unborn child. The title itself bears the image of the hills symbolizing the distended stomach of a pregnant lady which captures the expectations on the side of the woman. Apart form the title, imagery is also implicit in the story. The pair is in a train station that is situated between two sides with variant features: one side is full of lush green vegetation, and the other one is dry and barren.
Birth brings forth life while abortion leads to lifelessness. Lack of harmony between both sides symbolizes the divergent views that the man and woman have. The man opts for abortion, which in his view will bring freedom from the responsibility of child bearing and rearing while the lady cannot wait to experience the birth of her baby which will be a new beginning.
On either side of the station, there are tracks. The fact that they run parallel to each other is an implicit image for a clash of opinions between the two. Also, at the end of the story, a decision is not made just as the tracks that run parallel never meet. The couple disperses five minutes to the arrival of a train, and the reader is left wondering whether such an arrival symbolizes the birth of a baby or beginning of freedom for a young couple as envisaged by the man.
Imagery in James Baldwin’s ‘Sonny’s Blues’
‘Sonny’s Blues’ is set in Harlem where the narrator, a teacher, exposes struggles of a young man, Sonny. The struggles within members of Harlem society are symbolized in the story, particularly as a struggle between evil or darkness and light. There is turmoil between forces of good and evil in Harlem neighborhoods where youths struggle to escape from it through drugs, crime, art, or denial.
In various instances, an image of light is brought out. In the beginning, flickering headlights of a car provide illumination for the narrator as he reads about the arrest of Sonny. Towards the end, the narrator fears that bystanders will be destroyed by too much light as they stand behind the band stand. It symbolizes the care with which they should tread in their efforts to seek truth and happiness in life. This is because the world is said to be “hungry as a tiger”, symbolizing the harsh realities of life in Harlem.
Darkness symbolizes ignorance and suffering; people that are on edge seek nourishment through song, dance, and drugs. At one time the narrator mistakenly blames jazz as the cause of his brother’s addiction only to see the ‘light’ at the end when he witnesses his brother perform which serves as an awakening of sorts. After the performance, Sonny places scotch and milk on the piano, and the narrator sees the glass glow reinforcing the awakening.
Another image of light is the moonlit road which the narrator’s mother remembers as he informs her sons about an uncle who died earlier. Light symbolizes a break from the past; where their mother is ready to reveal secrets. Apart from light and darkness, ice is mentioned concerning the shock of receiving news of Sonny’s arrest. The image of ice settling on the narrator’s berry is one of an unpleasant experience for a teacher who is struggling to understand his brother and rise from upheavals in Harlem.
Hills Like White Elephants. A Short Story by Ernest Hemingway Essay
Ernest Hemingway’s 1927 short story “Hills like White Elephants” has lately become an important short story, despite being ignored for more than 50 years due to its lack of conventional literal characteristics. From a critical view, the story has several in-depth meanings that were previously ignored. In particular, the feministic view of Hemingway’s society is evident in the story. Hemingway attempts to express the feministic movement of the mid 20th century.
Using Jig as an example, the author has attempted to show how the early 20th century European and American societies viewed females. The story provides an example of male dominance over females in all aspects, which makes women unable to make their own decisions. Arguably, the author uses Jig to portray the development of women rights and feminist movements against the male-dominated world, which is demonstrated by the American boyfriend.
Jig is probably 19 or 20 years, judging from her perceptions and expression of ideas. She seems to be naïve but ready to settle down for marriage or bring up her children. On the other hand, she is afraid of her American boyfriend, and cannot express her ideas, fearing to disappoint him. However, her character changes significantly towards the end of the story.
According to Renner (1), the development of Jig’s character and perception is a representation of the development of women through feminist movements and can be divided into four basic stages. The first step concerns the submissive and passive presentation of Jig’s behavior, which was a social expectation of women before the early and mid-20th-century feminist movements. In this particular situation, the author portrays the gender roles of the time. In particular, the dominance nature of the male is evident.
While Jig realizes that she is not ready for the “small operation” that the American suggest and insists, she is unable to express her concern and decision not to take the “small operation.” She is submissive right from the first time. For instance, the story starts with Jig asking the American boyfriend, “what are we going to drink?” (Hemingway 572).
The American replies by ordering drinks for the two without asking what Jig wanted. This proves the dominance of males at the beginning of the story. As Hemingway continues with the narration, the audience is introduced to several other aspects that show how males dominated females in society.
For instance, Jig wants to try ‘Anis del Toro,’ her favorite drink for the day. However, she cannot order it without the man’s approval or permission. Thus, she requests him for permission to try the drink. In reply, the man takes the responsibility of asking the drink from the waiter. This further proves that Jig, as an example of female plight before the 20th-century feministic movement, is respecting the man such that she cannot order the drinks of her preference.
Moreover, when Anis del Toro is brought, the waiter asks whether they would like to take it with water. The American asks Jig whether she wanted it with water, but she replies that she did not know. She asks her boyfriend whether “it is good with water,” to which the man replies, “It is alright.”
Thus, the man seems to be responsible for what the young girl drinks. This is a further reflection of the character of the society at the time when males influenced or dictated even the simplest decisions that women were supposed to make about their welfare.
It is also evident that the American man does not give Jig a chance to express her answers to the waiter. He dominates the conversation, which is meant to let every customer express his or her preferences. The man is deciding for Jig, even without considering her preferences.
From a critical view, it is clear that the man’s behavior is a step towards the analysis of his behavior towards the girl when it comes to more important issues. The author uses the first section of the story to show that the man was dominating every decision the girl makes right from the beginning. In the second step, the man expresses his oppressive and dominating nature when the issue of abortion is placed on the table.
He also seems to have a chauvinistic attitude regarding the “operation,” which is most likely used about abortion, which the girl is being made to consider. According to Renner (3), the American is so high-handed about the “procedure” that he pretends to know everything about it. Despite being a man and unable to know the procedure, he tells the girl that it “…is a really simple procedure…like letting the air in” (Hemingway 573).
He seems to ignore the risks involved in taking abortions, especially at the time when it was a risky, illegal, and unethical act. He does not consider the trauma involved or the possible mental, moral, legal, and religious conflicts likely to arise after the operation. It appears that all that he wants is to have the Jig maintain her girlish status. He also wants to avoid children to have her on his side as he makes leisure trips around the world. He attempts to downplay the procedure in all aspects.
In the second step of Jig’s personality evolution, Jig expresses her attitudes but avoids invoking a conflict or disobeying her boyfriend. She says that she will take the procedure because she “does not care about me.” Hemingway attempts to show the selfishness in the man and Jig’s ability to show her attitudes. She wants to express her feelings towards the procedure and the man’s continued dominance in decision-making, even those that concern her more than him.
In this case, she seems to have evolved a step further because she has realized that the man is forcing her to take a risky procedure, which she knows is not only risky but also morally, socially and ethically illegal. At this stage, both individuals are portrayed as happy. However, Jig has only agreed to the man’s decision to please him. She seems to be happy, yet she is still aware of her boyfriend’s selfish behavior.
In the third step of Jig’s evolution of personality, she mentions that the hills above the railway line look like white elephants. From a shallow perspective, she was referring to the hills that were surrounding the area. It seems that the setting was in summer in Spain, which made it possible for the couple to move around for leisure. Nevertheless, a deep examination of the meaning reveals that Jig was using the phrase to symbolize her perceptions of the man’s decision to take an abortion.
She was making him note that the procedure is a difficult task to her, despite his constant argument that it is a small process. Also, it is possible that the “white elephant” was used about an unborn child, which is rare, precious, and sacred. In the normal terms, “white elephant” is a term that means a rare, precious and sometimes sacred animal.
To Jig, the unborn child she is probably carrying is a rare and precious thing to her. She expects to have her child in the normal way and lead a normal life. She is also in love with the kid and holds to the belief that an unborn child is sacred and should not be killed.
Towards the end of the story, the author describes the fourth step in the evolution of Jig’s feministic personality. Here, she seems to have come to a decision not to take an abortion, regardless of the man’s reaction. The man says, “I want to take the bags to the other side of the station” when the train was almost arriving. It seems that he has realized that Jig has refused to accept his suggestion. It seems that Jig has decided not to talk about the issue anymore, probably after making her own decision.
Therefore, the evolution of Jig’s character in this story signifies the evolution of female roles and feministic movements up to the mid 20th century. Like Jig, women were initially submissive and unable to express their concerns. Later, a conflict between them and males arose when females realized that males were using their dominance to force them to take certain decisions. The arising of feminist movements placed pressure on males, making them admit that females have the right to make important decisions.
Hemingway, Ernest. Hills Like White Elephants. Boston: Bedford/St Martin’s, 2006. Print.
Renner, Stanley. “Moving to the Girl’s Side of Hills like White Elephants”. Hemingway Review 15.1 (2009): 27-42. Print.