Hills Like White Elephants Thesis Paper

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Instead of arguing for letting a woman have an abortion if she desires one, though, Hemingway looks at the issue from a different perspective.

What if she wanted to keep the baby but was being pressured into an abortive procedure?

The American doesn't want this transition to happen because he knows his power over her as the sole object of her attention is gone as soon as she reaches true womanhood.

In the end, the girl doesn't get to make her decision as a woman because she doesn't actually become one, and with that stark reality, 'Hills Like White Elephants' condemns the practice of preventing ladies from making any choice they wish.

The underlying theme of Ernest Hemingway's 'Hills Like White Elephants' deals with the difficulties a couple, particularly the female, has in facing an unexpected and ultimately unwanted pregnancy.

Hemingway illustrates these difficulties through depictions of a lonely railway station and the contrasting landscape, as well as with connections to the idea of an 'elephant in the room.' The white elephant, a gift that has no usefulness to the recipient, especially when any utility in the item is overshadowed by the cost of its upkeep, is also an important symbol as it represents the perspective of the girl that the American is unable and unwilling to see.Of course, to some of us, the answer to this question might seem simple and straightforward, but the underlying theme of Hemingway's short story deals with the heavy and complex emotions involved when a relationship faces an unexpected pregnancy, particularly in the early 20th century.Let's take a look at the symbols used by Hemingway to illustrate this theme.One of the points Hemingway brings up in this argument is that men have no point of reference for the experience of pregnancy.When the unnamed girl first compares the far-off hills to white elephants, the American simply replies, 'I've never seen one.' The girl then responds with 'No, you wouldn't have.' What's really meant there is not that the American hasn't seen a white elephant in the wild, but that he has no way of knowing what it's like to have been given a gift only to have it be considered, by someone else, no less, to be not worth keeping. When they're trying to get you to do something without looking as though they are?The first symbol we have in the story is the white elephant.White elephant parties at the office are a relatively new tradition, but the expression itself has been around for some time.However, when it comes to talking about the situation with the American, she'd rather avoid the discussion altogether, even begging at one point, 'Would you please please please please please please please stop talking? The lonely rail station that serves as the backdrop for Hemingway's story represents an important decision to be made - much like a crossroads in other stories.Its isolation also reflects the girl's own desperate loneliness she feels in facing this situation, despite the American's constant interference.In fact, by pushing the issue to the point that the girl has to beg him to stop talking, the American is demonstrating just how unsupportive and indifferent he is toward her true feelings on the matter.Ultimately, then, not only does the American have no idea what the girl is going through, but he also displays no concern in really hearing her explain it.


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