Ineffective Communication In Ernest Hemingway's Hills Like White Elephants?

652 Words3 Pages
In Ernest Hemingway’s short story, Hills Like White Elephants, the American and his girlfriend’s relationship fluctuates through the course of this story due to their ineffective communication skills and their different opinions. Right at the beginning, Hemingway demonstrates their discordance through the conversations amongst the two. “‘They look like white elephants,’ she said. ‘I’ve never seen one,’ the man drank his beer. ‘No, you wouldn’t have.’ ‘I might have,’ the man said. ‘Just because you say I wouldn’t have doesn’t prove anything’” (Hemingway 297). The man continuously points out flaws in her statements revealing the incompatibility of their relationship. “‘Everything tastes of liquorice. Especially all the things you’ve waited so…show more content…
I was having a fine time.’ ‘Well, let’s try and have a fine time.’ ‘All right. I was trying. I said the mountains looked like white elephants. Wasn’t that bright?’ ‘That was bright.’ ‘I wanted to try this new drink. That’s all we do, isn’t it – look at things and try new drinks?’ ‘I guess so.’” (Hemingway 298). The man frequently belittles the girl but it does not appear to faze her. She seems to be greatly dependent on him and still desires to please him, but every comment she makes seems to annoy the man even further. As they continue with their conversation, the man mentions he wishes she would get an abortion. “‘It’s really an awfully simple operation, Jig,’ the man said. ‘It’s not really an operation at all.’ The girl looked at the ground the table legs rested on. ‘I know you wouldn’t mind it, Jig. It’s really not anything. It’s just to let the air in.’ the girl did not say anything. ‘I’ll go with you and I’ll stay with you all the…show more content…
He responds, “We’ll be fine afterward. Just like we were before” (Hemingway 298). Jig then shows her insecurity about their relationship and questions him on why he supposes they will go back to the way they were before. His response was, “That’s the only thing that bothers us. It’s the only thing that’s made us unhappy” (Hemingway 298). The man has downright disregarded all the additional complications in their relationship and trusts the single setback is Jig being pregnant. He says “us” because he assumes it bothers Jig too. Not once has he asked how she feels or what she considers about the abortion. As he continues on about the operation, Jig becomes more agitated. Jig tries to express that she does not want an abortion. “‘And we could have all this,’ she said. ‘And we could have everything and every day we make it more impossible.’ ‘What did you say?’ ‘I said we could have everything.’ ‘We can have everything.’ ‘No, we can’t.’” (Hemingway 299). She supposes they could have the world, meaning they could have a family, but the man appears to believe they could have the world without a

    More about Ineffective Communication In Ernest Hemingway's Hills Like White Elephants?

      Open Document