Gender Roles In “Hills Like White Elephants”

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Gender Roles in "Hills Like White Elephants"� The young woman portrayed in Hemingway's short story, "Hills Like White Elephants"�, is pregnant and is on her way to have an abortion. Traveling along with her is her significant other that uses his gender to convince her to have the abortion. In fact, she does not want it at all. The only reason she is going to have an abortion is to please her mate. For instance, in conversation, the man said, "It's really an awfully simple operation, Jig"¦It's not really an operation at all"� (363). He continues to persuade her by telling her that "I know you wouldn't mind it, Jig. It's really not anything. It's just to let the air in"� (363). The male partner does not care about his female lover or of the unborn baby she is carrying. He is, in essence, trying to make a decision for her when she would be the one making it since it is her body, not his.

At this point, the young woman is emotionally damaged. She understands that she has to choose between her lover and her unborn child. She also realizes that she really has no choice at this point and that she is not in control of her body. This is why she ends up emotionally removing herself from the situation in order to go through the abortion. For instance, she says to her lover, "Then I'll do it. Because I don't care about me"� (363). It is as if she is giving into her dominant male lover. Her body was used for pleasure and now, due to the consequences, the evidence must be discarded as if it were trash.