Week 10: Hills Like White Elephants. Dr. Peih-ying Lu Apr. 29, 2010. Pre-reading Questions. What’s the issue the American man and the girl are arguing about? When do the characters mention the topic of their conflict?
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The dialogue reveals to the reader that there is a definite conflict between the two main characters, it but does not reveal the exact nature of the conflict: the topic of conversation is never explicitly identified.
Because she wants the child(perhaps one of the things that “[she has] waited so long for ”) and because she knows that “once they take it away, you never get it back.” Despite her desire to have the child and her belief that “[they] could get along,”
The railway station where they are waiting is between two lines of rails at a junction, a place where different rail lines meet and converge. The rail lines on each side of the station lead in different directions. The options from which Jig must choose-bring her pregnancy to an end or to term- lead to drastically different futures.
The station is situated in the middle of a valley: on one side of station, the valley is hot and sunny, and “the country [is] brown and dry”; on the other side, the land is fertile and inviting, Jig is drawn to the fertile side of the valley, repeatedly looking at it and eventually moving towards it: