Hills Like White Elephants Characters

Characters

The American
The American is one of two characters in Hemingway’s story. He sits at a table with a girl at a train station in Spain. Through his conversation, it becomes clear that the girl with him is his lover. Throughout the story, the American tries to convince the girl that she should have an abortion. He tries to make himself sound perfectly reasonable and rational, but as the dialogue continues, it becomes clear that he is both selfish and hypocritical. He says, ‘‘You’ve got to realize . . . that I don’t want you to do it if you don't want to. I’m perfectly willing to go through with it if it means anything to you.’’ He does not mean, however, that he wants the girl to have the baby, although he says that he’ll ‘‘go through with it.’’ By the end of the story, the American has revealed himself to be self-centered and lacking in feeling for the girl, Jig, despite his protestations of love.

The girl
See Jig

Jig
The second character is called ‘‘Jig’’ by the American; however, Hemingway refers to her as ‘‘the girl’’ throughout the story. This is in contrast to Hemingway’s naming of the other character as ‘‘the American’’ or ‘‘the man.’’ Jig is a young woman who finds herself pregnant with her lover’s child. She and her lover have been traveling in Europe; the labels on their suitcases name the hotels where they...

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