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Why does the American man from "Hills Like White Elephants" want Jig to get an abortion?
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From the conversation that takes place between Jig and the man called the American, it becomes clear that he wants her to have the abortion because he doesn't want to get tied down by a baby. It could mean that he would have to get a regular job, which could be very difficult unless he returned to America. They have been traveling all over Europe togeyther, enjoying the kind of footloose sightseeing, drinking and gourmandizing, that Hemingwzay describes at greater length in his novel The Sun Also Rises. The man keeps assuring Jig that she can have the baby if she really and truly wants it, but he makes it clear from his tone and general attitude that he doesn't want to assume the responsibillities of fatherhood and to give up his freedom and independence.
She has already agreed to have the abortion, under pressure from the man. They are on their way to Madrid to get the illegal procedure done, but the man seems to be afraid she will change her mind at the last minute. That is why he keeps talking, telling her it will be a very simple thing, assuring her that their relationship won't change and that they can go back to having fun together just as they were before; but she is skeptical and mistrustful. She thinks this is already the beginning of the end of their relationship. There is no mention of marriage. There seems to be some possibility that they actually are married already, since it seems unlikely that she would consider having the baby, back in the 1920s, without being married. Yet the American assures her five times, albeit without much enthusiasm, that she can have the baby if she realy and truly wants it.
Posted by billdelaney on October 21, 2012 at 2:50 AM (Answer #1)
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