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You are watching: What is the conflict in hills like white elephants


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Teacher (K-12), expert Writer

B.A. Indigenous Yale college M.A. From Columbia University

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The main conflict in the story “Hills prefer White Elephants ” is the debate in between the man and his girl friend Jig end whether or not to abort their unborn baby that Jig is carrying. The man obviously wants—and pressures—Jig to have an abortion if Jig is wake up to go...


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The main conflict in the story “Hills favor White Elephants” is the debate in between the man and his girl friend Jig over whether or not to abort your unborn baby that Jig is carrying. The male obviously wants—and pressures—Jig to have actually an abortion when Jig is wake up to go with with the procedure. The man and Jig room a young American couple backpacking with Spain, carefree and supposedly in love. The baby would certainly disrupt your relationship and lifestyle the wanderlust. In fact, the fetus is a “white elephant.” The hatchet “white elephant” originally referred to an albino elephant i m sorry was taken into consideration holy in eastern countries (e.g., India, Thailand, and also Sri Lanka) during ancient times. Back expensive come feed, a white elephant needed to be cared for and also made available to worship. Today, the hatchet “white elephant” describes a burdensome object the requires more expense (in time, money, and also trouble) than it is precious in value and use. A “white elephant” may not be simple to gain rid of.

When Jig tries come lighten the mood by commenting the a heat of the hills resembles white elephants and that everything tastes favor licorice—even an alcohol addict drink like absinthe—the man tells her to prevent being silly. He likewise replies that he has actually never before seen a white elephant. Jig notes that indeed, "No, friend wouldn"t have." as a male, Jig’s boyfriend and father the the baby does no bear the physical and emotional load of the child; that does no seem to establish how challenging a decision aborting the child is. This disparity in between Jig and also the man’s views of the abortion creates the story’s main conflict.

The male downplays the seriousness the the procedure, calling the a “really one awfully basic operation… not really an operation at all." He claims that an abortion is just letting “the wait in and then it"s all perfectly natural." In fact, it will certainly solve and get rid of their trouble (i.e., the baby, i m sorry is “the only thing that"s made us unhappy") and also that every little thing will it is in fine afterwards, permitting them to return to their carefree past. Meanwhile, Jig watch down and away, obviously uncomfortable through the idea.

The male states the he would assistance her either way: “If you don"t want to you don"t have actually to. I wouldn"t have actually you do it if girlfriend didn"t want to.” with the characters’ dialogue and Jig’s physics actions, however, Hemingway reveals the underlying conflict in between Jig and also the man. Jig asks the man, “if I carry out it you"ll it is in happy and things will be like they were and also you"ll love me?” back the man insurance claims to love her, he is pressuring her right into aborting the baby. Easy to understand worried about the procedure itself, Jig is insecure about their relationship and will go v with it because the male worries and she desires to make him feeling better.

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The male wants your relationship and also life to return to exactly how it was prior to the pregnancy; in fact, he important believes that they have the right to reclaim your freedom and “have the entirety world.” Jig, on the various other hand, realizes that they cannot. She just wants to move on through life and for that to stop talking and trying to to convince her otherwise.