The Simple Operation Ernest Hemingway's short story "Hills Like White Elephants" is a story about a couple who are having some trouble in their relationship. The main characters in the story are an American man and a girl. The whole story is mostly a dialogue between the couple. They are trying to have a fine time, but there is a tension between them and some kind of operation needs to be done. The operation can easily be done and if it's going to happen it will be done on the girl.
In the story it's not being said what the operation is. The second time I read it I understand that they are talking about an abortion. The man wants the girl to do the abortion while the girl is not sure. The setting of the story is well described; the couple is waiting at a little train station between Barcelona and Madrid. The couple is sitting outside a bar "at a table in the shade." (171) They are having a cold drink. It's warm outside and the view is beautiful, in the distance they see white hills.
The story doesn't give very much information about the characters. The American man and the girl, whose name is Jig, are a couple, but they are not married. The man are probably a bit older than the girl, he is mention as an American man while Jig is just mention as the girl, the story doesn't say what her nationality is. But she can't be Spanish because she doesn't speak Spanish. They are traveling around because they have bags with "labels on them from all the hotels where they had spent nights." (174) The conflict in the story is the "simple operation" (172), which is an abortion. The man is the one who says "It's really an awfully simple operation." (172) The man is selfish.
He says to the girl that everything will be like before if she does the operation, he only wants her and nobody else. The girl is more insecure, she knows that if they take it away it will never come back. She also seems bored of the life they have now, in the beginning of the story she says "That's all we do, isn't it-look at new things and try new drinks" (172). I think she wants to settle down she is tired of traveling around. One symbol in the story is the title and that the girl says that the hills "look like white elephants" (171), white elephants can be a symbol for something you get but you don't really want and that could symbolize the unborn child. The story doesn't tell whether the girl will do the operation or not, the couple doesn't come to any conclusion.
I think that she will do the operation, if she keeps the baby the couple will probably break up. I think that the man has a great influence on the girl one thing is that he is older, she is insecure about things and want him to confirm that she is right for example she says something and then she asks him "Wasn't that bright?" . (172).