Indulging the reader with his masterful literary techniques, Ernest Hemingway produces the story of a young couple in his short story, "Hills Like White Elephants." Waiting to catch a train the young couple stops for a short rest in the shade of the station building. Everything seems normal, they order drinks a have normal conversation until the man brings up the topic of the girls operation; things quickly become uneasy. It is quite obvious that this is a sensitive subject of the young woman and becomes clear that it is not something that she is readily doing, more that the man has pushed her into it. Throughout the story the reader is never told what the operation is but, when dissected the reader can assume that the operation is going to be the abortion of the girl's baby. Hemingway utilizes this bold topic to convey the idea of couples with lustful relationships and their inabilities to talk with each other and to deal with large problems.
Throughout, "Hills Like White Elephants," Hemingway utilizes the element of characterization to describe the young woman's distraught situation. Jig is described to be a young woman that is having some sort of a relationship and has become pregnant with an American man. It is thought that she is much younger by the way he is described as a "man" and she a "girl," "She put the felt pads and the beer glasses on the table and looked at the man and the girl" (514). She is obviously upset and scared about the operation she is having soon. The first sign of this is when the man replies, "It's really an awfully simple operation, Jig .it's not really an operation at all .The girl looked at the ground the table legs rested on" (515). Her reaction to his statement repelled her attention away from him and towards the ground, a defense mechanism. This shows her discomfort in the subject. He goes on to say that, "We"ll be fine afterward. Just like we were before .