In "Hills Like White Elephants," why do you think Hemingway chose to tell this story as a dialogue between two opposing characters?

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Earnest Hemingway was well known for his “iceberg” writing style, where most of the meaning is “below the surface.” A modernist writer, Hemingway wanted to depict things as they really were without providing much interpretation for the reader; instead, the reader is to make meaning for himself. For this reason,...

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Earnest Hemingway was well known for his “iceberg” writing style, where most of the meaning is “below the surface.” A modernist writer, Hemingway wanted to depict things as they really were without providing much interpretation for the reader; instead, the reader is to make meaning for himself. For this reason, “Hills Like White Elephants” is told from a narrator who seems to simply be observing a conversation between two people. Their conversation is much like a real conversation between two people who are struggling to communicate and understand each other. Much of what the characters really mean and feel is unspoken. Their conversation seems simple and mundane at the surface, but in reality they are discussing something that could potentially change their lives. The woman, Jig, and her boyfriend are discussing whether to have an abortion. When Jig says, “that’s all we do, isn’t it-- look at things and try new drinks?” she seems to be implying that she wants something more out of life, that their current way of living has become dull and meaningless to her. Throughout the conversation, it seems that she does not want to go through with the abortion,  but she never comes right out and says it. On the other hand, the unnamed man seems to want her to go through with the operation, but he never comes right out and says this, either. The narrator observes this conversation and this difficulty in communication without commenting on it, allowing the reader to take meaning for himself.

 

 

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