Examples Of Sexism In Hills Like White Elephants

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The White Elephant of Sexism The white elephant gift is the gift that nobody wants. It’s the joke that is more suited for giving away than actually owning. It is never explicitly stated what the actual white elephant is that Ernest Hemingway refers to in his short story “Hills Like White Elephants.” Under the surface, however, it becomes more and more apparent. The story details the relationship between a man and a woman who are traveling together. Their discussions mostly concerns mindless small talk about drinks. However, the truth of their conversations becomes apparent when the topic of “the operation” is brought up. This operation is an abortion, and the white elephant in the room is the talk of whether or not to keep the baby. The man, and suave, smooth-talking American, tries to convince his foreign girlfriend Jig to have the operation. Jig, on the other hand, seems…show more content…
Throughout the beginning of the text, she seems quite passive. She changes her mind on several things and doesn’t really know what to think. However, beneath the surface, she knows exactly what she thinks and what she wants. In one passage, after Jig has just likened the hills that they are looking over to white elephants, which is a reference to the baby. The man replies, “I’ve never seen one” (Charters 274). To this, Jig states, “No, you wouldn’t have” (Charters 274). This simple sentence makes a very powerful statement. Despite the man’s attempts to convince her to get the abortion, she defiantly holds that he doesn’t understand what it mean to have a child. The rest of the story details their argument, and Jig holds firm to her beliefs, rejecting her boyfriend’s strategies to convince her to have the abortion. This is hardly sexist. The woman that Hemingway portrays is not weak of mind. She does not waver under the man’s pressure. And her beliefs, however subliminal, are

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