Hills Like White Elephants

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Trauma in Hills Like White Elephants In Ernest Hemmingway’s Hills Like White Elephants, the obvious trauma is the girl’s pregnancy. The man wants her to terminate the pregnancy while she seems to want to have the child. While it is obvious that they do not agree on how to handle the trauma they face, it is left open to the reader’s interpretation what they will decide to do. In the beginning of the story the girl, once referred to as “Jig”, has a playful tone with the man. She says, “They [the hills] look like white elephants”. This is the turning point in the story. It happens at the beginning, whereas most turning points would be expected to happen in the middle of a story. However, the reader comes into the story late. At the readers point of entry to the story Jig (the girl) has already discovered she’s pregnant and the man has already talked her into having an abortion. The story begins for the reader as they are on their way to have the procedure done. When Jig makes the comment about the hills, the man replies, “I’ve never seen one”. This causes Jig’s attitude to change. She becomes sarcastic and starts to show that she isn’t as comfortable with the procedure as the man is. When the man says, “You don’t have to be afraid. I’ve known lots of people that have done it.” Jig’s reply is “So have I… and afterward they were all so happy”. The sarcasm implies that she is no longer being compliant with what the man thinks about the situation or with how he thinks they should resolve it. We also see that Jig is beginning to think more about the baby and less about herself and her relationship with the man. He says to her, “We can have the whole world”. She tells him “No, we can’t”. Then he says, “We can go everywhere” and she tells him again “No, we can’t. It isn’t ours any more… and once they take it away, you never get it back”. In this statement she refers to

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