How does Jig feel about motherhood?

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Determining the definitive "feeling" that Jig has about motherhood is difficult because of the style in which the story is written. However, there are a few places in the awkward conversation between Jig and "the American" that imply that, although she is considering keeping the child, her feelings about motherhood are negative. From the beginning of the story, Jig characterizes herself as a woman who is extremely self-conscious and dependent upon others. She remarks several times how little she cares about herself and how much she wants to her lover to be happy. These qualities indicate that Jig is immature in many ways and does not want the responsibility of someone depending upon her.

Also, Jig's own statements reveal her thoughts and fears about motherhood. One of the most telling statements that Jig makes, after saying that she and the American "could have everything and every day we make it more impossible," is this: "No, it isn't. And once they take it away, you never get it back." She claims a few lines later that she "knows" this to be true. The pronouns "it" and "they" are used several times in the text as euphemisms for the child, so she is essentially claiming that the child would ruin their chances at living the life to which they are accustomed.

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The American and Jig have to wait for a train to Madrid, where she is going to have an abortion. The reader can sense an awkwardness in both of them, despite the fact that they have had an intimate relationship for a long while. Jig does not want to talk about what is on both their minds, so she chooses to talk about the things that are the farthest away, the distant mountains. The story opens with a description of them: "The hills across the valley of the Ebro were long and white." She is trying to direct the man's attention away from her and away from the subject she knows intuitively that he wants to discuss. They have been traveling around Europe for a long time just sightseeing. Later she will say to him sarcastically, "That's all we do, isn't it—look at things and try new drinks?" When she comments on the white hills in the distance, she is just saying the same kind of thing she has been saying during their travels. She is not as interested in sightseeing as he is, but she has been trying to be a good companion. She is probably not interested in trying Anis del Toro either, but she wants to avoid thinking or talking about the coming abortion. She dreads it, and she really wants to have the baby. We can perhaps sense her maternal wish in the following sentence:

The girl looked at the bead curtain, put her hand out and took hold of two of the strings of beads.

Many of the things that are made for babies have beads on them, including cribs, playpens, and strollers. Perhaps, Jig is thinking about the baby inside her as she fondles the beads on the curtain advertising Anis del Toro. She has almost given up arguing with the American about having the abortion. She does make one last attempt to defend her unborn child after he has insisted on bringing up the subject of abortion. She says, "Doesn't it mean anything to you? We could get along." After that she gives up. She realizes he is adamant. But she does not want to hear any more of his persuasion and rationalization. She asks, "Would you please please please please please please please stop talking?"

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