Every short story has a unifying point or basic message that the author is trying to indirectly convey to the reader. The theme can be paraphrased by the author or shown through statements made by a character. As I read over Ernest Hemingway's short story, Hills Like White Elephants, there is one powerful theme that clearly stands out. In past and present society, the man in a relationship is dominant in relation to a woman. A man is typically seen as strong and decisive. One who works hard during the day to support his family and expects to return home in the evening to a warm dinner. In today's 21st century women are beginning to become more independent and educated which seems to have made the roles of the man and woman more equal, but during Hills Like White Elephants I feel the men were the dominant member of the relationship.
The American and the girl in the story seem to be in love because they both are trying to determine the fate of the baby the girl is pregnant with. The American pushes her to get an abortion by making it seem simple and not a big deal. "It's really an awfully simple operation, Jig," "It's not really an operation at all." The man then goes on to say, "And if I do it you"ll be happy and things will be like they were and you"ll love me?" The woman then replies, "I love you now. You know I love you." The love between the two characters seems to be there, but the girl is confused and unsure on what to do. The man however isn't confused because he doesn't want the baby and wants the woman to get the abortion so he could "love her". This leads me to believe that he may not be as in love with her as he says because why would getting the abortion make her love him when she hadn't given off the reasons to believe she didn't want the baby. This leads back to my thesis that men in the 1940's felt that if they were the dominant members of any relationship they could push women into their beliefs.