restricted access Letting the Air Into a Relationship: Metaphorical Abortion in 'Hill White Elephants'

The proposed abortion in Ernest Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants" functions as a metaphor for the fate of the story's protagonist and is an allegorical vehicle for the author's response to a series of truncated relationships in his own life. Jig and the American conduct an emotional debate in which both adopt negotiating positions diametrically opposed to their true beliefs, while each heart remains unmoved. The ultimate consequence, whether or not Jig's pregnancy is allowed to continue, is the termination—the abortion—of the couple's relationship. This reading suggests Hemingway's estrangement from friends and mentors, and events surrounding the dissolution of his first marriage, as significant influences on the story.