Ernest Hemingway – Hills Like White Elephants

Question B: Tension helps the climax of many short stories. In this story the climax is understated yet is as serious as any death or battle. Explain how the climax builds and shapes the outcome of this story. A Tough Decision In this journey we call life, we are confronted with many challenges, most of which we share as a society. One such challenge is the issue of abortion (pro-life vs. pro-abortion). Throughout the world this remains a hotly debated topic among many people (families, religions, and governments).

Exploration of such a challenging topic does not require us to look too far before we run into controversy. It is readily available in print, music, art, media, and on the worldwide web, in addition to other channels. In this analysis, I shall attempt to examine some aspects of the core issue of abortion through a short story, and observe the climax, tension, and heart felt emotions people endure because of their differently held cultural views. The short story “Hills like White Elephants” was written by Ernest Hemingway in 1927. He brought the characters to life with his vivid imagery and strong dialogue.

Academic anxiety?
Get original paper in 3 hours and nail the task
Get your paper price

124 experts online

The short story is about a young couple in the country of Spain, awaiting the arrival of a commuter train outside a restaurant. The couple is in a heated discussion centered on the girl’s pregnancy. The American man tries to use his powers of persuasion to convince the girl (Jig) to have an abortion, however, she has a different view on the thought of having an abortion; she did not want to go through with it. The American man knew within himself that he was not ready to assume the responsibilities of fathering a child, so the abortion was his solution to their problem.

He tried desperately to convince Jig that having an abortion was the best resolution for their tough situation when he said: “It’s really an awfully simple operation Jig …. That’s the only thing that bothers us. It’s the only thing that’s made us unhappy,”(Hemingway 538). For him and his situation, to have the abortion was the right thing for them to do. He felt that fathering a child would require a lot of time and energy that he was not ready to commit, and as far as Jig was concerned, he did not think she was ready either. He wanted her to understand that having child would change or even drain their relationship.

The operation (abortion) provided a way out of a difficult situation he was not ready to be in, and one he did not want Jig to confront alone. Internally Jig felt differently about his offer to have an abortion. She sincerely thought that he was wrong when she stated her view that: “And we could have all this. And we could have everything and every day we make it more impossible,” and “We could have the whole world,”(Hemingway 539). Jig felt like having a baby was all they needed – what she needed. Her dilemma was that she wanted both the baby and the American man in her life. She loved him and depended on the life they enjoyed together.

For her, adding a child to the equation was not such a bad idea considering they had everything else they needed. Jig did not want to have the abortion because she knew it could be avoided. Every moral fiber in her protested against the idea of aborting their child. She thought that it was immoral, selfish and unnecessary. She hoped he would understand her argument since he told her that if she did not want to have the abortion, she did not have to have it. Her protest was a final attempt to get him to see that she was willing to have the baby and that she was serious about it.

She did not want to bare the thought of him or the baby not being in her life. The conversation became intense after Jig shared how she really felt about their predicament. To his surprise, she did not agree with his notion that the abortion was the right action for them to take. He grew increasingly impatient and shot back: “No, we can’t. It isn’t ours anymore. ” He was clearly becoming agitated and desperately wanted to change her point of view. He wanted to scare her off the idea that everything would be the way it was now.

He refused to take her side of the argument seriously, and continued to coax her into sacrificing the unborn child for “their happiness to endure. ” His harsh response helped her to realize that he was not seriously interested in having a family, so she had a tough decision to make. The American man was not making it any easier for her because he kept on pushing his view. The man was almost forcing her when he said: “You’ve got to realize…. ” The conversation later climaxed when the girl dryly begged, “Would you please, please, please, please, please, please, please stop talking,” (Hemingway 540).

At that point, she had heard enough of his argument because their conversation was not going anywhere. Jig did not want to undergo the procedure. Having the operation worried her. It worried her because she had never done it before. She knew other people who had done it, but that knowledge did little to console her. She did not want to be invaded. She knew that she was the only one who would make the final decision — it was her body — regardless of what the American man wanted or said. Jig came to the conclusion that in order to keep him she had to put his needs before her own.

As for the American man, he wanted what he wanted (the abortion), but all he could do was plead to her from the sidelines. Despite their present dilemma the couple seemed to sincerely care for each other very much. The story climaxed when the opposite, polarizing views of the couple reached a crescendo. They both expressed intense opposite views and values concerning the idea of abortion. The outcome of this kind of story is usually not a good one. It could emotionally and permanently fracture the once loving couple’s relationship.

If Jig had the abortion, she may in the future feel some sort of resentment towards him for not supporting her decision to have the baby, and feel that he took something precious away from her. It could affect her view of sexual intimacy, self esteem, and commitment to future relationships. If she did not have the abortion there could be a strong chance that the American man, feeling a sense of entrapment would have left her, and she would have to raise the child on her own. No matter which way the table turned Jig would be the one suffering the most hurt.

She would either have to loose her sense of dignity and the child or loose her lover and the life they shared. I feel that there is a high probability that Jig, in her current situation, would agree to have the abortion. Jig gave me the impression that she felt she could have a child at a later date, but not another man like the American she so dearly loved. . Works Cited Hemingway, Ernest. “Hills like White Elephants. ” Living Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Ed. John Brereton. New York: Pearson Longman, 2008. pp. 537-540. Print. Natasha Daniel Dr. Yarborough 211-02 Title: Effects of Abortion.

This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

Need a custom essay sample written specially to meet your requirements?

Choose skilled expert on your subject and get original paper with free plagiarism report

Order custom paper Without paying upfront

Ernest Hemingway – Hills Like White Elephants. (2018, May 15). Retrieved from