Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants.”
Would you feel differently about the story if the roles of Jig and the man were reversed, that is, if Jig wanted the abortion and the man wanted her to marry him and keep the baby?
I believe that the father and mother should have equal say when it comes to having an abortion. Even if the baby may be growing inside the woman’s body, the sperm from the man was responsible for triggering the pregnancy. Not only that, but the man and the woman engaged in sexual activity to make the sperm travel to the egg. This means that it is not only the responsibility of the woman; it is the responsibility of both mature adults. I think there is a greater responsibility in the woman to understand her own body and take care of it so that the baby can be healthy, but I don’t think the baby being in the woman’s body and the woman having greater responsibility automatically denies the responsibility of the male. The reason this story is so frustrating to me is not only because of the lack of background information, such as the history of the couple, but because people nowadays are so easily willing to give up their babies, without even considering the damages it may do to people not only physically but mentally.
Could the story be used to support a “pro-life” position? What about a “pro-choice” position?
I think the story struggles in being either a pro-life or pro-choice position. The presence of alcohol is present throughout the story, and alcohol is known to be very damaging for the pregnant woman. Near the end of the story, the man says, “All right. Then come back and we’ll finish the beer” (Hemingway). It is also damaging for the male who is supposed to take care of the baby, as he seems to be detached from reality and wish to stay intoxicated. The presence of alochol makes it difficult to say that it is pro-life, because alcohol kills the baby. At the same time, the story doesn’t support a pro-choice idea either, because of the woman’s struggle in knowing what to do with the baby. Plus, can there really be a rational choice made in the presence of so much alcohol?