Ernest Hemingway's Hills Like White Elephants: A Study Of Being Reasonable

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Thom (Cara) Jones Kerschner ENGL 1022 A Study of Being Reasonable in Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants.” Reasonable behavior and unreasonable women. That is what first comes to mind when I read “Hills Like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway. I, as fan of Old Hollywood, am reminded of the way women have been portrayed in film and also their roles in reality. Written in 1927 during a time of great social change, women had more liberties than before. They had the right to vote, there was a 25% increase of women in the workplace, flappers were smoking in public, and this was the time of sexual liberation. Yet, many were still housewives and not as free as their male counterparts. Men still made most of the decisions. In old films,…show more content…
Based on historical context, she may well be his mistress. It was not uncommon in that time for men to have lovers. Something else that supports this is his desperation in trying to convince her to have an abortion. Had they been married, he might’ve been more welcome to the idea of fathering a child with her. The situation is already uncomfortable, but the mention of heat, chilled alcohol, and the lack of any shade or trees makes it worse. Looking off into the distance instead of focusing on her lover, the woman gazes at the white hills and the brown, dried out country. This in itself shows her unwillingness as the man continues to press her to agree with the surgery. This also reveals the state of their relationship as somewhat dull. Ignoring him completely, she says the hills, “look like white elephants.” This causes them to bicker and then drink to ease the tension, or perhaps spare themselves from having to speak to each other. I believe that her offhanded comment and the resulting awkwardness prompted his leave. This is, in my opinion, is the most important part in the story because the man is watching people wait reasonably for the train. That simple adverb says much more than it appears

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