Romance and Betrayal in Literature Essay Example

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  8
Wordcount:  2134 Words
Date:  2022-05-26

The two stories, 'Hills with White Elephants' by Earnest Hemmingway, and 'Winter Dreams' by Scott Fitzgerald are stories about love and betrayal. The two stories cannot actually be described as the happily-ever-after narratives that are associated with romantic stories. Instead, the reader of these two stories sees how people manipulate and take advantage of the people who love them in order to get what they want. As is the case in the two stories, 'the victim' of manipulation is the one who genuinely loves. On the other hand, 'the manipulator' uses the emotional susceptibility of their partner to force him or her to do as he or she pleases.

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In Hemingway's 'Hills Like White Elephants,' the author eliminates all the inessentials of the story, applying the iceberg theory in the dialogue between the two main characters in this story. There is little information that a reader can derive from the dialogue (Welcome to the University of Warwick1). For instance, the author does not provide a description of the two main characters in the story, their dresses, their relationship status i.e. whether they are married or are just dating, and even the tone of their voices. The reader is only able to decipher that the couple is experiencing a 'problem' in their relationship, and according to the man, the operation that the woman is scheduled to undergo in Madrid will solve it.

At the beginning of the dialogue, Jig makes the following comment, 'the hills look like white elephants,' to which the man responds, 'I have never seen one.' This brings to surface the tension in their relationship. It leads to a tense exchange of words, which the reader can easily interpret to be as a result of the frustrations that each party has of the other. It becomes clear that the man is trying to convince the girl, Jig to undergo an abortion (Welcome to the University of Warwick1). He is frustrated that it seems that he has been unable to convince her to accept and make this decision. On the other hand, it seems as if Jig feels that by having the baby it will increase the love that they feel for each other.

The man is trying to convince Jig that she should undergo an abortion in Madrid. It is clear that he wants her to have an abortion, while on the other hand, Jig does not want to undergo the process. The man throughout the dialogue tries to rationalize why aborting instead of letting Jig have a baby is the best decision for their relationship. He insinuates that he is even prepared to drop the plan if it makes her happy. The man states; 'if you don't want to you don't have to. I wouldn't have you do it if you didn't want to. But I know it's perfectly simple.' The reader can be able to see a sense of manipulation from the man towards the girl. He makes it seem like he is giving her the authority to make a decision, but by stating it is perfectly simple, he wants to influence the choice of her decision.

Jig on the other hand, intuitively feels that they have crossed a boundary, or their relationship threshold has been breached. This means that whatever decision she will make once they reach Madrid, the love that she once felt they shared cannot be reclaimed (Welcome to the University of Warwick1). She feels that she is fighting for a lost cause, and in the end, it seems that she finally accepts that the man does not love her, and the reason as to why he is insisting that she has an abortion is to avoid future responsibilities.

Hemingway uses Jig to display romance or true love in this story. It is evident that she is deeply in love with the American man that she is willing to risk her life in order to please. Although the man wants her to have an abortion, she is hesitant that it will be safe and as simple as the man insinuates. However, she is willing to accept the man's choice if it will make him happy. She states; ' And you think then we'll be all right and be happy.' Based on this statement it can be interpreted that the most important thing in her life at the moment is ensuring that her man is happy. Although she wants to have the baby as she feels it will strengthen their relationship, and make their bond stronger, she is considering at the moment undergoing the relationship to make him happy. This is further reiterated by the following statement; 'And if I do it you'll be happy and things will be like they were and you'll love me?' She feels that the love that she once thought they both shared has been affected, mainly by their current problem, and therefore she is willing to sacrifice both her health and happiness in order to save their love and relationship. This is supported by the following statement that she makes; 'Then I'll do it. Because I don't care about me.' It illustrates that the love they share or once shared is more important to her than her health, which may be affected by the abortion procedure and losing a child.

To understand the gravity of her situation, one needs to take into consideration the period when this story was written. During the 1920s, abortion was illegal in the United States, and it can provide an explanation why they were in Europe at the time. The man describes the process as just letting the air in. One can also state that the abortion procedures that were used at that time were not only dangerous but extremely painful. It also explains why the girl was very hesitant about agreeing to undergo the procedure. If she made the decision to seek the abortion, it is an act of proof that she loved him unconditionally.

The man in this story illustrates the notion of betrayal. He manipulates the girl through the use of words, and also alcohol to influence her decision to undergo an abortion. In an effort to convince the girl to undergo the abortion, he insinuates that it is really a simple operation, even going to the extent of declaring that she should not consider it to be an operation, and term it as a 'perfectly natural' process. Also, he offers to accompany her to the operation room, and offer his support as she undergoes the procedure (Welcome to the University of Warwick1).

Even though the man is fully responsible for the pregnancy, he states that it is the root of their problems and the only reason as to why they have been fighting lately leading to a strain in their relationship. As he is aware that the girl truly loves her, he states that; 'We'll be fine afterward. Just like we were before.' When the girl questions him about this statement, he adds that 'That's the only thing that bothers us. It's the only thing that's made us unhappy.' The man also claims that he loves her, and also claims that he will not be angered in future based on some of the statements that she will make such as white elephants. He even claims that the only reason why the statement angered him was that he is worried that she is planning on keeping the pregnancy until it reaches full-term and have a baby. According to him, the baby will be a burden that will make them stop traveling. This is despite the fact that it seems that the girl does not want to travel anymore. Her future plans are to settle down with him and have a family. She claims that; 'I wanted to try this new drink. That's all we do, isn't it-look at things and try new drinks?' A reader can interpret that she is tired of living this lifestyle based on the way this statement is phrased. By stating 'that's all we do, isn't it' can be interpreted as being sarcastic.

As the story concludes, it seems that the girl is finally at peace with herself, and she will make the decision that is best for her given the situation. After walking to the end of the station, and viewing the fields of grain and trees, and then witnessing the shadow of the cloud, which was moving across the field of grain, it seems that she has a revelation. She realizes that no matter which decision she makes; their relationship will never be the same again. She finally sees that the man only wants what is best for him, and not for them. This leads her to state the following; 'And we could have all this, And we could have everything and every day we make it more impossible.' She is insinuating that the ma's stubbornness is the reason as to why their relationship has failed. At the end of the dialogue she claims, 'I feel fine, there's nothing wrong with me. I feel fine.' The reader can interpret that she has finally made a decision that she feels will be in her best interest, and that is to keep her baby.

Pradani (1) believes that the reason as to why Ernest Hemingway liked to write short stories was that he believed that this was an ideal medium to deliver the messages that the author felt strongly about. The use of characters was meant to help the reader to build an image. Pradani (1) states that Hemingway uses indirect characterization perfectly to illustrate the character traits of all the three characters in the story (Pradani 1). For instance, the girl can be considered to be stubborn, and pessimistic about her condition. The American is domineering, and an irresponsible person, while the woman is polite. Pradani (1) also believes that the main reason why Hemingway did not provide a conclusion to the story is to bring about suspension and bring out the possibility for different conclusions based on the reader's perceptions.

Jiahong (99) reveals that the plot of this story was inspired by Hemingway interacting with a woman in a cafe in Paris that had just had an abortion, and also the suffering that he had experienced after his first divorce. He describes it as 'the feeling was just like the fetus died in his belly which gave ideas to his writing.' Jiahong (93) also expresses that the short story was meant to create a sense of imagination for the reader (Jiahong93). The dialogue is stated to have developed gradually, until the point when a climax is reached. However, Hemingway fails to resolve the problem, leaving the readers to imagine what really happened.

Susanty (1) feels that 'Hills Like White Elephants' illustrates the women as being marginalized in a patriarchal society. While men have gigantic egos, the women (Jig and bar woman) are thinly portrayed in this story. In addition to that, even when women feel unsatisfied by the decisions that are made by men, they have to accept them, in order to please them. Susanty (1) illustrates that despite women making the most sacrifices to sustain a relationship as depicted by Hemingway, they are the ones who end up being harmed the most. In most cases, it seems that they are provided with the liberty to make decisions (Susantry1). However, in most cases, men determine the direction of a relationship, and they are selfish in their decision-making process.

Scott Fitzgerald story, 'Winter Dreams' provides a balance between romance and disaster and also shows how people manipulate those they know love them to do what they wish. The characters in this story are popular, rich, dare to dream, and at times live a reckless life. However, their biggest enemy is time, which forces even the beautiful such as Judy Jones to age and suffers just like she previously did to the people she dated when she was young ("Short Stories"1). In the story, the aging process is signified by the word 'winter,' which is included in the title of the story. It also signifies both physical and emotional deterioration such as at the end of the story, the reader is able to deduce that Dexter's emotions have become 'frozen.' It is evident that he has lost his ability to love, care, or feel. His dream of 'winning the love of Judy' had previously kept him energetic, passionate, and driven his desires to increase his wealth and stature. However, once he learns that her beauty has faded, he realizes that he does not love her anymore and that he has essentially been 'robbed' of his dream.

Dexter falls in love with Judy Jones while still working as a caddy. He realizes t...

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