How is the American man manipulative and selfish in "Hills Like White Elephants"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants," the American man is selfish because he has no interest in understanding the woman's point of view. The abortion probably needs to be discussed, and one could claim that by pointing out that the hills look like white elephants, the woman is just trying to avoid the subject, but the man's only objective is to persuade or manipulate her to go through with the operation.

"You've got to realize," he said, "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."

"Doesn't it mean anything to you? We could get long."

"Of course it does. But I don't want anybody but you. I don't want anybody else."

The woman has to make a show of anger before he finally admits his true feelings.

"Would you please please please please please please please stop talking?"

He did not say anything but looked at the bags against the wall of the station. There were labels on them from all the hotels where they...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 600 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team