"One man's trash is another (wo)man's treasure": Hemingway's, Hills Like White Elephants

Essay by yoshiod9University, Bachelor'sA-, May 2004

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In Ernest Hemingway's, "Hills Like White Elephants", the dialogue used by the characters allows readers to understand how manipulative and knieving people can be when they feel their way of life is in jeopardy.

A white elephant is an item which one person deems is unnecessary(trash) while that unnecessary item may be seen as life saving(treasure).

The man in the story, is an American and appears to be a bit of a lady's man. It seems as though he knows how to sweet talk a woman into doing whatever he pleases.

"It's really an awfully simple operation, Jig," the man said. "It's not really an operation at all." The girl looked at the ground the table legs rested on. "I know you wouldn't mind it, Jig. It's really not anything. It's just to let the air in." The girl did not say anything. "I'll go with you and I'll stay with you all the time.

They just let the air in and then it's all perfectly natural." "Then what will we do afterward?" "We'll be fine afterward. Just like we were before" "What makes you think so?" "That's the only thing that bothers us. It's the only thing that's made us unhappy."(1495)

With such a suave delivery the man is attempting to explain to his lover how simple it will be to proceed with an abortion. The girl is obviously worried about even having thought about an abortion. "And you think then we'll be all right and be happy."(1495) To which the man replies, "I know we will. You don't have to be afraid. I've known lots of people that have done it."(1495) With his falsified words of encouragement and support, the girl sarcastically retorts by saying, "So have I ... and afterward they were all so...