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Essay/Term paper: Hills like white elephants: jig

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Science Research Papers

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Hills Like White Elephants: Jig

Everyday people make decisions that affect their future lives. Do
people make the right decisions? What makes a decision a right one? What may
be right to some, may be wrong to others. There are no right or wrong
decisions but those that people choose and believe to be right varying from
each individual. In Hemingway's realistic story, Hills Like White Elephants,
Jig attempts to make a crucial change in her life by making the right decision,
but is unable to because of her weak characteristic flaws. Jig is indecisive
about her decision. Even though she realizes the possibilities, she has
difficulties letting go of old habits, has a low self-esteem that leads to her
being submissive, and puts up a frail fight by hiding her feelings behind her
sarcastic comments.

Jig faces an immense decision that will change her future. She must
choose between the old and the new lifestyle. It is hard for her to let go of
old habits that consists of taking no responsibility and the sole intention of
seeking pleasure. She must go from a young worriedless rebel to a stable adult
taking responsibility. It's a hard process since there are three steps to
changing: realization, doing the deed, and committing to the change. She
definitely realizes she needs to change, but only goes that far. She does walk
to the end of the station and looks upon the fertile side of the valley and
comments "and we could have all this," but she continues drinking when she
knows well that she carries a child in her womb. She even says the alcohol
tastes like licorice, that everything tastes the same, and she's getting tired
of her same old life. Surely, she must know the possible damage she can cause
the baby to have, but does it stop her from drinking? No, this only indicates
that she is still not ready to change completely. Even though she wants to
change, something, perhaps her old ways, is holding her back from doing so.
Maybe this explains why she drinks during her pregnancy.

Jig has many characteristics that define her as being a weak character.
Due to her submissive quality, she gives in to her lover regardless her own
feelings. One of the reasons why she feels the need to make him happy lies in
her fear of losing him. "And if I do it you'll be happy and things will be
like they were and you'll love me?" Apparently, Jig is willing to sacrifice her
own will for his, if it means making him happy. She struggles on a decision
between her mind and her heart. Her mind is telling her to keep the baby, but
her heart is telling her the opposite-to go through the operation. It is a
decision between her love for him and willingness to make him happy versus her
self- interest to make the right decision. Obviously, it is her low self-
esteem that gears her towards giving in to him. "If I do it you won't ever
worry...then I'll do it because I don't care about me." This quotes clearly
shows how she is passive and submissive. Her weak flaw lies in the fact that
she doesn't consider her feelings in her decision makings. She pocesses
qualities that make her a feeble character incapable of changing and making
decisions that make her an unreliable and unwillful character.

Another weak flaw is seen through her inability to speak out against her
lover. It's as if she tries to avoid any quarrels from occurring. She uses
sarcastic means to hide her true feelings about the issue. This is her only
way of showing disagreements towards him. Either she is afraid to speak out
her real emotions or she is being too tolerant and considerate towards him.
When he tells Jig that he's known people who have gone through with it before,
she comments, "So have I...and afterwards they were all so happy." On the
surface she agrees with him that everything will be the same afterwards, but,
underneath she really knows that the abortion will bring them everything but
happiness. Her sarcastic usage hides her feeling so well that it seems as if
she doesn't even try to tell him she doesn't want to go through with it. At
the end, Jig tries one last time to imply to her lover that she disagrees with
him by saying, "I feel fine, there's nothing wrong with me. I feel fine." Her
sarcastic remark is not a strong way of going about trying to convince him that
deep inside something is really bothering her. It can sometimes be confusing
for she tells him one thing but means the other. His power over her is so
great that she feels intimidated to oppose him directly. Instead, she indicates
her opposition towards him indirectly through her sarcastic comments.

In conclusion, Hemingway's character Jig in Hills Like White Elephants
was unable to change her life through her decision due to her frail
characteristics. Some reasons that lead up to her failure were: the hardships
of letting go of the old lifestyle, the power Jig's lover has over her due to
her low self-esteem and submissive being, and the weakness behind hiding true
emotions by using sarcastic means. Jig walked back towards the station into
the shades of the sterile side of the valley. A dark cloud covered her head
and she knew what was going to become of herself after the "simple" operation.
In the end, everyone must choose and follow their own paths, whether their
decisions were right or wrong, each direction leads to the beginning of a new


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