Hills Like White Elephants (Hemingway)

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Hills Like White Elephants
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A couple discussed the possibility of the woman undergoing an abortion while waiting for a train, revealing their differing perspectives on the matter and the strain it put on their relationship.

A man and a girl sat at a table in the shade outside a train station, waiting for the express from Barcelona to arrive.

The American — man; trying to convince the girl to have an abortion; persuasive, somewhat insensitive.
Jig — girl; uncertain about having an abortion; thoughtful, emotional.

They discussed what to drink, eventually settling on beer. The girl commented on the hills in the distance, saying they looked like white elephants.

They look like white elephants,' she said. 'I've never seen one,' the man drank his beer.

They tried a new drink called Anis del Toro, which the girl said tasted like licorice.

The man brought up the topic of an operation, assuring the girl that it was a simple procedure and that he would be with her the entire time.

It's really an awfully simple operation, Jig,' the man said. 'It's not really an operation at all.'

The girl seemed hesitant, asking what would happen afterward and if they would be happy. The man insisted that the operation was the only thing making them unhappy and that they would be fine once it was over.

The girl went to the end of the station and looked at the fields and mountains in the distance, lamenting that they could have had everything but were making it more impossible every day.

And we could have all this,' she said. 'And we could have everything and every day we make it more impossible.'

The man tried to reassure her, saying they could still have everything, but the girl disagreed.

They continued to discuss the operation, with the man emphasizing that he didn't want her to do it if she didn't want to. The girl asked for another beer and requested that they stop talking about it. The man agreed, but reiterated his willingness to go through with the operation if it meant something to her.

The girl asked the man to stop talking, and he complied. As they finished their beers, the woman from the bar informed them that the train would arrive in five minutes. The man took their bags to the other side of the station, and when he returned, the girl said she felt fine and that there was nothing wrong with her.