What are some examples of argumentative themes in "Hills Like White Elephants"?I am having trouble coming up with an argumentative thesis for this story. I wanted to argue that The American is only...

What are some examples of argumentative themes in "Hills Like White Elephants"?

I am having trouble coming up with an argumentative thesis for this story. I wanted to argue that The American is only concerned with his own best interest but then I realized that there really isn't a whole lot of evidence to support this claim. So, I am having a hard time coming up with something solid that I can use as a basis for my argumentative essay.

Asked on by rissachu

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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There can be many argumentative prompts to come out of the work.  One significant one would be whether Hemingway's construction is in favor of women's predicaments, against it, or refuses to give an answer to it.  The central idea concerns the procedure for an abortion to which the woman displays resistance, but the man displays support.  Is Hemingway trying to articulate the condition of women as one that needs to be changed or is he content with what is there in terms of the dynamic between women and men?  At the same time, I think that an argument can be made that Hemingway might be trying to construct a situation as it is, outside of the realm of judgments and assertions.  What makes his short story so phenomenal is that it seeks to be a perfect recreation of what is as opposed to what should be, what might be due to bias, or what can only be through human contingency.  The question that we are left with which to wrestle is that if art does this, if art is able to render a perfect vision of what is, does it actually embrace what is as opposed to seeking to change what is into what should be?  At what point does art stop being a mirror and begin being a looking glass?  At what point is this desirable or undesirable?  I think that Hemingway forces all of these questions out of this short story.

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