In the short story "Hills Like White Elephants" the author Ernest Hemingway sets the setting in about the 1930's of an "American" and a "girl" sitting at a table together in a small train station bar somewhere between Barcelona and Madrid. The two are having a conversation on a subject that seems to have an effect on both of their lives, the topic in which they are discussing is an abortion, and in the 1930's abortion was something that no one ever talked about, people looked at abortion as being illegal and unhealthy. They both have very different views on what they should do about the abortion also on which direction they should chose to go in life, because of these differences in views they argue continually throughout the story. The topic that the two are having this emotional discussion about is never mentioned in the story, but is shown through symbolism and dialogue.
Jig feels that the concept of an abortion is morally degrading to her, she would like to have a home and a family of her own in the future, and having an abortion would be taking the start of that dream away from her. "We could have all this, we could have everything and everyday we make it impossible"(250). Here Jig is trying to convene the American to settling down and starting that conventional and rewarding life of having a home and a family. "We can go anywhere, we can have the whole world"(250). Jig is convened that once they have the child they are able to go anywhere and do anything they wanted too and life would be perfect for them both. Jig fears that after having the abortion she might harm herself form the procedures of the operation. She feels that if she goes through with the abortion that their relationship will not go back to the way it used to be. "And if I do it you'll be happy and things will be like they were and you'll love me"(249). Jig is asking the American this because she is trying to put some sense into why she is giving up her life long dream for this man who walked into her life and put her into this situation.