In "Hills Like White Elephants," why is the man called "the American"?

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The American seems to be referred to in this way to emphasize the idea that he is somehow representative of America and American values during this time period. He is interested in drinking, ordering beer first and then something called Anis del Toro. Perhaps this indicates a desire to numb his feelings and to make things less awkward for himself by dulling his emotions. He tells Jig that he wants to "try and have a fine time" without seeming to acknowledge that she does not feel fine. He wants things to be "fine" and seems to prefer to ignore any feelings that do not correspond with that.

The American also spends a lot of time trying to convince Jig to have an abortion, telling her "It's really not anything" or that it is "an awfully simple operation." He fails to recognize her feelings, and she seems a great deal more apprehensive—only wanting reassurance that he will go on caring for her and that they'll "be all right and be happy"—because he is more self-centered. He focuses on...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 965 words.)

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