“Hills like white elephants” is an exemplary work by Ernest Hemingway perhaps his best that address the issue of abortion. The story does not expressly mention abortion but the author has made it clear through symbolism. The inference the man uses of letting air in and about an operation suggests to abortion. The story is mainly a conversation between two main characters; a man only referred to as the American and a woman who the man only refers to as Jig. Set in a railway station the narrative perfectly implores the conflict of stands between men and women regarding abortion mainly whether to take the abortion or not. It is an elegant story that lets the reader deduce the theme of the narrative. Through Jig, the author brings out submissive and reluctant acceptance by women to get an abortion and the consequences that follow copulation for pleasure without minding the outcome. Though the pregnancy seems to be the main cause of their current problems, the tone of their argument shows that they have deeper issues not addressed in this story. Judging by the cruel exchange, Jig and the man are in a loveless relationship and she is tired of the fact that he is using her. From the repeated use of the word please, there is an indication of the dire refusal by Jig to accept an abortion.
They are not married evidently because all they seem to have in common is the drinking sprees, travels and sexual intercourse. Jig loves the man and submits to his will but the American man sees her as a sex partner. When an argument comes up on whether to do an abortion, Jig realizes that the man is only interested in her body. This realization hurts her emotionally to the point she uses sarcasm to show the man’s moral decadence. The man considers her as a tool for pleasure hence his pet name for her being ‘Jig’. They argue to the point where Jig does not want to hear any more of his justification on how this pregnancy will affect their relationship. It is at this point that she asks him to ‘please stop talking’ repetitively using the word please. Jig realizes that she cannot persuade him to change his stand on the abortion issue and she cannot stand him go on and on about why she should have the abortion. The use of please severally is meant to show her disgust and frustration with the man. She is trying to dismiss him because she does not feel like she can stand him any more. It is apparent that they had discussed the abortion before hence the trip to the station but Jig still is not convinced.
The man’s insistence that it is a minor operation irritates Jig and she is defiantly silencing the man by asking him to do her a favor and stop to talking. She wants sometime to clear her mind off which contrasts with the man, he has already made up his mind. This implies she has agreed to do as the man says. Jig’s resignation to her fate is evident when she smiles and asks him to come back and finish their beers. In conclusion, therefore, it is apparent that the man does not love Jig because he would care about her feelings concerning a sensitive issue such as abortion. Jig in an effort to solve their fight resigns to go through with the abortion, which is an assumed conclusion because the story ends abruptly. The man carrying the bags to the platform and drinking a beer alone is a sign that he is also tired of Jig because of her stubbornness in refusing to see the issue as he does. It is apparent the man does not have anything to lose if his relationship with Jig breaks up. The fact that he is willing to sacrifice the relationship because of a pregnancy shows how casual their relationship is. This is why the man rejects Jig’s offer to have beers together telling her that he cannot change his decision for anything.
The man admits that he does not care about the abortion. Considering the cost he has gone through to get the abortion done in Spain, this is a lie. He sees the baby as a problem, an obstacle to their traveling and drinking. This is evident when he refuses to talk about White Mountains citing he has never seen them. He desperately wants this abortion not minding the risk involved. The man tries to manipulate Jig in believing that the abortion is beneficial to her making it seem that she is the one that does not appreciate family life. Clearly, this couple does not have anything to do with love and family hence the conclusion that they are in a loveless carefree relationship.