I need help with this quote from "Hills Like White Elephants": "Yes," said the girl. "Everything tastes of licorice. Especially all the things you've waited so long for, like absinthe." "Oh, cut it out."  Why does the girl say that everything ends up tasting like licorice, and why does this annoy her companion? 

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To understand why the woman, Jig, makes the comment about everything tasting like licorice and why this annoys her boyfriend, we have to understand that Jig is bitter. She is pregnant. Her boyfriend badly wants her to have an abortion, while she would like to keep the baby. His insincerity about the abortion, repeatedly saying "if you don't want to you don't have to. I wouldn't have you do it if you didn't want to," while pressuring her hard to have the abortion is making her very angry, a feeling which pops up as sarcasm or mockery. Her saying "everything tastes of licorice" is her way of saying he is trying to put a happy spin on their situation. He is trying, she is saying, to candy coat the abortion he wants her to have by saying how easy it is. He is sugarcoating their problems by saying that after the abortion, everything will go back to the good way it was. Her point is that everything doesn't taste like licorice (can't be made happy).

This can be difficult to understand because...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 899 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on February 11, 2020