Hills Like White Elephants Characters Analysis

The American - The man in the story is left unnamed and he is only ever identified with his nationality. We can conclude from certain details in the story that the man is traveling across Europe with the girl, Jig. He brings up the topic of abortion as the pair of them are waiting for a train to Madrid. He wants her to have the operation, which he believes is simple and natural. However, he doesn’t just want her to get the abortion but he wants her to want to get it as well. He is unable to understand why the girl wants to leave behind their free lifestyle to start a family. He tells her that the reason why he doesn’t want a baby is that he wants no one besides her. By the end of the short story, the girl has made up her mind to get the abortion but the man isn’t satisfied with her reasons for getting the operation.

Jig - Jig is the pregnant girl that accompanies the American as they wait for a train in the burning hot valley of Ebro. Jig is trying to convince the American that their lives have already been altered by the pregnancy. She believes that the operation would be something that they could never leave behind. She understands his perspective about not being tied down to a place and seeing the world instead, but she also believes that they could all get along as a family. She eventually decides that she will get the operation but she tells him that it is because she cares nothing for herself. The man then tries to fix her reasons for the abortion as he tells her that he wouldn’t want her to get the operation if her reasons are wrong. The girl keeps up a show of civility throughout the conversation despite being exasperated by the man several times in the conversation. The reader naturally sides with the girl when she begs him with seven pleases to stop talking to her. In the end, the girl smiles at the bar woman when she comes to tell them that the train is arriving, to project an outer image of serenity.

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