What specific type of irony is present in Ernest Hemingway's short story, Hills Like White Elephants?

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

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I think that there is a relationship irony evident between Jig and the American in Hemingway's short story.  On one hand, both of them profess to care for the other.  At the same time, there is some fundamental tension that exists between them about "the procedure."  This is something that ends up reflecting how little they actually care for one another and how much they actually care for themselves.  The irony is that while they speak to one another about how they care for one another, the reality is that there is nothing but self- interest that exists underneath.  It is ironic when the American keeps saying to Jig that it is her choice.  In saying it repeatedly, there is a strong implication that he wants to influence her choice.  On her part, Jig keeps asking if everything will be satisfactory if she has the procedure, and in doing so, the irony is that she already senses that their relationship will be forever altered no matter what she decides.  In the end, the irony of their relationship, professing to be strong, but actually becoming quite weak becomes the ultimate reality that underscores the dialogue between them.

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