What is the relationship between the man and the girl in the short story "Hills Like White Elephants" by Ernest Hemingway?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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In the short story "Hills Like White Elephants" by Ernest Hemingway, the woman, Jig, and the American are lovers, engaged in a sexual relationship. We do not know if they are married, but the language and behavior of the couple suggest they are not. Jig is pregnant with the man's child and the man is urging her to get an abortion, while she is somewhat ambivalent about the process. The man is uncomfortable with the idea of fatherhood, because he has been traveling around Europe enjoying himself, and thinks that the responsibilities of fatherhood would get in the way of spending a life attending parties and trying out new drinks.

The story is set in a railway station where they are talking obliquely about this life decision. The main characteristic of the relationship is that the man and woman have very different goals in life, and much of the conversation reveals this conflict. 

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