Hills Like White Elephants Questions and Answers
by Ernest Hemingway

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What is the main conflict in the story "Hills Like White Elephants"?

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The main conflict in the story “Hills Like White Elephants ” is the debate between the man and his girlfriend Jig over whether or not to abort their unborn baby that Jig is carrying. The man obviously wants—and pressures—Jig to have an abortion while Jig is reluctant to go through with the procedure. The man and Jig are a young American couple backpacking through Spain, carefree and supposedly in love. The baby would disrupt their relationship and lifestyle of wanderlust. In fact, the fetus is a “white elephant.” The term “white elephant” originally referred to an albino elephant which was considered holy in Asian countries (e.g., India, Thailand, and Sri Lanka) during ancient times. Although expensive to feed, a white elephant needed to be cared for and made available to worship. Today, the term “white elephant” refers to a burdensome object that requires more expense (in time, money, and trouble) than it is worth in value and use. A “white elephant” may not be...

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