illustration of train tracks with low hills in the background and one of the hills has the outline of an elephant within it

Hills Like White Elephants

by Ernest Hemingway

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How does "Hills like White Elephants" depict women?

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The one woman shown in any detail in the story, Jig, is depicted as frustrated and unhappy. She is trapped in a dead-end relationship.

She is pregnant and clearly wants to keep the baby. She seems to hope her lover will accept her wish and that somehow they can be a family. He, on the other hand, repeatedly tries to pressure her into having an abortion. He says over and over that he will do whatever she wants, but the incessant way he pushes the abortion shows that he is being insincere. He tells her if she gets rid of the baby, everything will go back to the way it was, but that is hard to believe.

She expresses her anger by telling him to "please" just be quiet.

We feel for Jig. Her lover is not committed to her the way she would like him to be, and she is caught between being a single parent—as it seems clear he won't stick around if she has the baby—and having an abortion that she doesn't want.

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