Analytical Essay on 'Hills Like White Elephants'

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The stories chosen for comparison are Ernest Hemingway’s ‘Hills Like White Elephants’ and Amy Tan’s ‘Rules of The Games’. The comparison would be conducted based on the aspect of protagonist’s isolation which is evident from both the stories in which each of the protagonists has their own world and has their own way to interact with the world. The thesis statement would be associated with the fact that in spite protagonists strong fight to win over their respective isolation, each has to resort to the world and the family making a wide variety of possible symbolic interpretations. The comparison would be conducted between both the protagonists in terms of their struggle with the world, acquaintances and the people around them to address their issues in isolation.

Comparing the lives of the girl in Ernest Hemingway’s ‘Hills Like White Elephants’ and Waverly Jong in Amy Tan’s ‘Rules of The Game’, it can be said that both the woman and the girl rationalize their attempts to deal with the issues in isolation. Both the protagonist in the story feel it necessary to make the compromises to please the people around them. In case of the girl referred in the ‘Hills Like White Elephant’, there is a constant struggle of the protagonist to decide to get an abortion. The protagonist in this story is in isolation as there seems to be pressure from the man to do the work but he also insists vaguely to not do it if she does not want to. There is a confusion bestowed upon the first who has to solely decide on whether to keep the baby or to agree to what the man wants implicitly. The protagonist in this story continues to gamble between keeping the baby or pleasing the man. On the other hand, the protagonist Waverly Jong has been in a constant psychological battle of wills with her mother. There is this isolated battle that Waverly Jong has been playing against her mother and brothers. Waverly’s mother imposes strict Chinese rules on her children which are biased against Waverly. This is evident from the fact that Waverly was relegated to doing chores while her brothers were free to pursue their interests. However, ultimately it is Waverly’s decision to grow her interest in chess and ultimately be a chess genius.

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Protagonist isolation from the world can be justified in case of the ‘Hills Like White Elephants’ as there has been mention of the nature, mountains, hills, valley of Ebro and also the interaction with the waitress of the bar and presence of the people who were also waiting to the catch the train to Madrid. However, there was thoughtful isolation for the protagonist as her decision to undergo abortion was inherent and was oblivion for the world around her except for the man. The author has not presented any information or identity of the man in the protagonist’s life while it could assumed as the lover who wanted an illegitimate pregnancy to end or a husband not ready for the responsibility. However, statements like “if you don't want to you don't have to. I wouldn't have you do it if you didn't want to.”(Hemingway 645) have been confusing for the girl to take her decision in isolation. However, she insisted on the man to stop talking which could be an indication that the protagonist wanted isolation in her decision making and would not entertain any suggestion It is also unclear as to what would be final act of the girl although her ending line states “I feel fine,' she said. 'There's nothing wrong with me. I feel fine”( Hemingway 646). Comparing such strong protagonist isolation in case of the girl, Waverly Jong has a contrasting life in which there is strong domination of the mother and the Chinese culture. It can be said that the Waverly also took an isolated decision to and ran away from her house for half a day. However, upon realizing that she can’t survive in isolation, she considers coming back only with angry eyes but considers her next move in her battle of wills against her mother by stating “I closed my eyes and pondered my next move” ( Tan 1513). Both the girl and Waverly was fighting for oneself and not for others and hence in spite of their isolation, they both have been raced down by others.

In conclusion, the purpose of the comparison was to understand the situation of each of the protagonist in situations to undertake decisions to win over their lives.. The girl in ‘Hills Like White Elephants’ has been struggling with the man to decide to keep the baby or not while Waverly was in a constant battle of wills against her mother. However, there is no decisive statement in each of the stories that ascertain who wins the battle as in whether the girl pursues her desire to keep the baby or abort it or whether Waverly would be ever allowed to play chess with support from her mother.

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Analytical Essay on ‘Hills Like White Elephants’. (2024, January 30). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 14, 2024, from
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