Will the Girl in “Hills Like White Elephants” Undergo the Operation?

Rahmani , Hussein and Roshan , Belghais (2012) Will the Girl in “Hills Like White Elephants” Undergo the Operation? In: 2nd International Conference on Foreign Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics (FLTAL’12), 4-6 May 2012, Sarajevo.

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“Hills Like White Elephants,” set in Spain, is the story of an American man and a girl sitting at an outdoor café in a Spanish train station and waiting for a fast, non-stop train coming from Barcelona to take them to Madrid. Referred to by the American man as “Jig,” the girl is trying to decide whether or not to have an abortion; the man, while urging the girl to have the operation, says again and again that he really doesn’t want her to do so if she really doesn’t want to. The girl is trying to be brave but she is clearly frightened of undergoing the operation; the man is clearly insisting that she do so because according to what he’s heard, it’s “natural” and “not really an operation at all.” Finally, the express train arrives and the two prepare to board without having solved anything. The tension remains and Hemingway put it for the reader to conclude how the story ends: whether the girl undergoes the operation or she lets the child to be born. Written, like his other short stories, on the principle of Iceberg, “Hills Like White Elephants” provides the reader with the necessary details, and then leaves him to decide what the couple are going to do about the girl's pregnancy. The present essay aims at the examination of the ending of Hemingway's short story “Hills Like White Elephants,” and suggests a radically different outcome from those so far considered - the girl will not indeed have the abortion and afterwards the American will abandon her. Various indications are found in the story to support this interpretation: having the child is always accompanied by “fields of grain and trees along the banks of the Ebro,” a river which signifies creation while aborting the child leads to a life of barrenness and sterility.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Gender, patriarchal, prototypical, punishment, parricide
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Depositing User: Mr. Ibrahim Kinal
Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2012 08:52
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2012 08:52
URI: http://eprints.ibu.edu.ba/id/eprint/864

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