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The American said that after the operation they'll be just like they were before. What...

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readeal3 | Student, Grade 11 | Valedictorian

Posted January 25, 2012 at 12:21 AM via web

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The American said that after the operation they'll be just like they were before. What is the operation?

Can someone tell me whats the operation?  In Hill's Like White Mountain The American says that they'll be just like we were before "implying that a change has taken place and that this operation will return them to the prior state" - what's the operation?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 25, 2012 at 12:31 AM (Answer #1)

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Jig and the American have been travelling around Europe together and having a sexual relationship. Jig has become pregnant. The American is urging Jig to have an abortion. Before she became pregnant with his child, they had a relationship with no real responsibilities. Now she has the choice of having a dangerous and illegal abortion or an illegitimate child. The man does not want the responsibility of a child and he does not want to marry her. He wants to make the pregnancy go away so he can return to travelling around and enjoying life without having to worry about such things as commitment or child support.

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 25, 2012 at 3:06 AM (Answer #2)

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Although Hemingway doesn't use the word "abortion," it should be obvious that the man has been pressuring the girl to have one and she has very relutantly consented. The man says the operation will be very simple: "They just let the air in." It is probably much more complicated than that, and more dangerous. The girl doesn't even want to think about it. That's why she says, "Will you please please please please please stop talking." She doesn't want to be reminded of what is in store. This story is minimalistic. It is remarkable how much Hemingway conveys through dialogue and by what he leaves out. He prided himself on leaving things out, and "Hills Like White Elephants" is one of the best examples. Another is "The Killers."

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