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A Literary Analysis of Ernest Hemingway, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 619

Essay

“Hills Like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway follows the story of a young man and women who initially appear to be having a casual conversation. Since they are in public, elements of their story have to be analyzed in order to gain an understanding of the plot. It can be determined by the reader that the two are travelling out of town so that the woman could get an abortion. At one point in the dialogue, the woman reconsiders this action and the man convinces her to go on with it. This is a hallmark of Hemingway’s works, as they are biased towards the male reader. Therefore, these aspects of machismo incorporated into his literary works favor the male characters over the female, and this is projected from the author’s interpretation of gender roles in society.

Literary critics agree that it is difficult to understand the plot of the story during the first read due to the extent of symbolism and caution used. The author wrote the story in this style because he wishes it to mimic a personal conversation that would be occurring in public. Despite the discreet sense of the conversation occurring between the man and woman, it appears that the woman is upset. It appears that she was pressured into undergoing a kind of operation by the man and wants things to go back to the way they were before, seemingly both in terms of her relationship with the man and her health state. These events are biased towards the male character because they make the female character look week. Despite her sadness over aborting their unborn child, she is willing to go through with it because she believe that her relationship with the man will return to normal if she does. Rather than making the choice that will leave her the happiest, she is concerned with pleasing her male partner.

Throughout the conversation between the two main characters, the tone of the woman’s words make her seem worried about the operation and the events that she is currently encountering. However, the man did not react to the woman’s grief with comfort. Instead, the words he spoke appeared to be uncaring and demonstrated that this ordeal was just an inconvenience to him. In this instance, this work is biased towards the male reader because the male character is made to embody aspects of stereotypical manliness in a way that makes him the hero of the story. Earnest Hemingway used many of these such characters in his short stories, and it appears that he is persuading the male audience that it is proper to behave in this manner. By doing so, he is reinforcing societal normalities that had already been established.

Ultimately, it is clear that literary bias exists in this piece. Earnest Hemingway wrote the story in a manner that reflects the actions that he would likely take in a similar situation. While the woman in the story is clearly distressed by her pregnancy and need for an abortion, the author shows that it is the responsibility of the man to keep a cool head, even if this means failing to provide support for a situation that he is partially responsible for. This bias is evident because this type of character is less respected in modern society. While there are certainly literary works that are considered feminine and masculine, the characters of today’s works tend to be better-rounded. Therefore, while this story was successful in the early 1900s, it would have been less likely to reach widespread fame if it were released today.

Works Cited

“A Literary Analysis of Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants”. N.D. Web. 13 February 2015. <http://www.portlandwt.com/LiteraryAnalysisHLWE.htm>

Hemingway E. Hills Like White Elephants. 1927. Web. 13 February 2015.

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