I'm writing a research paper about "Hills Like White Elephants". I would like to focus mostly on gender standards in 1920s and the history of Spain back then. What will be the best thesis for that kind of topic?

In Ernest Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants," an American man and his lover, a young woman called Jig, conduct a veiled conversation regarding her unplanned pregnancy and his desire for her to get an abortion. He mistakenly assumes that her "New Woman" independence means she will have abandoned traditional values, causing a breakdown in their communication. Further, the conflicts and hardships experienced in Spain after a period of stability could symbolize this breakdown as well.

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In the 1920s, women's roles were in the midst of changing dramatically. American women, for example, were granted the right to vote with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. In addition, the "New Woman"—a stereotype of a young woman who would drink alcohol, have sex outside of marriage, cut her hair short, and behave rather independently of society's expectations for young ladies—came about. Many women entered the workforce during this time, gaining their own professional identities and income. It is tempting to assume that women who seemed to resemble that "New Woman" type eschewed all traditional values. I think one could certainly argue that the "American" in this story believes Jig is a "New Woman" and makes this assumption, one that completely undermines their relationship. He tries to downplay the severity of getting an illegal abortion as well as its emotional implications, leading to a near-total breakdown of communication between them. In the early 1920s, Spain enjoyed a trade boom due to their neutrality in WWI, but fighting Moroccan rebels in the Rif and the financial errors committed by Primo de Rivera's regime led to hardship and, eventually, helped to fuel unrest and civil war in the 1930s. You could, perhaps, make the case that this movement in Spain, from apparent stability to messy conflict, parallels the breakdown between the American and Jig. In addition, as a deeply Catholic country, abortion in Spain would have absolutely been considered murder, a great sin.

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