The Importance of Reading Ernest discussion

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Hills Like White Elephants > What They're Talking About (spoilers)

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message 1: by Brad (new)

Brad (judekyle) | 219 comments Mod
See...I told you I'd add a topic for this.


message 2: by Ruth (new)

Ruth albino pachyderms? or the elephant in the room ~ or not.


message 3: by Gio (new)

Gio (giobannaschlitz) to me, its quite clear she's pregnant and he would prefer it if she took care of things. again, like my first impression, this is probably a conversation that happens more often than i'd like to think about (abortion as birth control, for me, is appalling - especially in this day and age where contraception costs a mere £3.)

the only thing that dates this conversation to me is that the idea of aborting sounds like a new procedure.

regardless, she clearly shifts between wanting and not wanting this baby, but i always think that it is in the doubting that you realize that she does want this baby. he clearly does not (although he pulls the passive aggressive arguement of 'whatever you want to do' normally reserved for women).

and even though she keeps seeking verification that things would be alright whatever she chooses to do, he's steering her into one direction. and quite frankly, regardless of what they choose to do, the relationship is doomed.

hills like white elephants...more like the elephant sitting on the platform with them.


message 4: by Brad (new)

Brad (judekyle) | 219 comments Mod
Gio wrote: "...she clearly shifts between wanting and not wanting this baby, but i always think that it is in the doubting that you realize that she does want this baby...."

Me too. And like you say, they are doomed. His time alone in the bar is what really convinces me of that, although it is definitely there in their feelings about the unborn baby.




message 5: by Brad (new)

Brad (judekyle) | 219 comments Mod
Maybe we should debate abortion here. Whattaya think?


message 6: by Gio (new)

Gio (giobannaschlitz) oh my....is that opening up a big can of worms? :) why not. i'm pro choice, i'll admit it, but i don't hold any respect for anyone who uses it as a form of birth control.


message 7: by Brad (new)

Brad (judekyle) | 219 comments Mod
O ye of little sympathy ;).

I had this plan once, long ago, to catch people using abortion for "birth control." That a woman gets three abortions and after the third abortion her tubes are ligated, so she can't get pregnant again.


message 8: by Gio (new)

Gio (giobannaschlitz) haha - that's a great plan!

seriously people, just wear a condom!


message 9: by Brad (new)

Brad (judekyle) | 219 comments Mod
But that's not 100%, Gio.


message 10: by Gio (new)

Gio (giobannaschlitz) true


message 11: by Gary (new)

Gary | 400 comments Mod
by moving the luggage to the "other tracks" what does that indicate? opinions???


message 12: by Gary (new)

Gary | 400 comments Mod
ok, the ebro is in spain. i see that now. rereading.....


message 13: by Gary (new)

Gary | 400 comments Mod
the train goes to madrid, but by moving the luggage to the "other tracks" are they no longer going to madrid, for the procedure???


message 14: by Gary (new)

Gary | 400 comments Mod
when he asks her at the end if she's feeling better?? isn't he referring to the decision they have made?not to go through with it? she says she's fine,there's nothing wrong with me, i am fine. i think she is relieved that the abortion isn't going to happen. what do you guys t hink?


message 15: by Matt (new)

Matt Hi Gary. The way that the story spoke to me is that they never reached a decision within the glimpse that we are given into their lives. The guy thinks that they have, but the girl definitely has not. More than likely she has come to the conclusion that the relationship will inevitably fail regardless of the decision. Her saying "We could have had everything..." is hinting at "everything" being a life together raising a child, but she now realizes their aspirations are not in line. You might be onto something with the two train tracks, but I think I missed that. In my mind's eye it was a single train track and two ramshackle buildings - pretty much a bump in the road. Also very curious that the guy is clearly identified as an American and the woman's nationality is never revealed. We know her only as Jig. My first thought was that it was a long distance relationship and she may have been going home to Madrid after a weekend visit. This isn't an attempt to argue with your interpretation, as i'm still pondering all of the aspects within. I'm just very intrigued that we have such divergent viewpoints of this story. Thanks for inviting me:).

Perhaps this should be a seperate thread, but i'm also fascinated by her statement "Everything tastes of licorice. Especially all of the things you've waited so long for, like absinthe." To me this hints at the fact that she has desired the moment that they would have a baby and the possibility that it would bring them closer, but now that it has arrived it is turning out to be bittersweet. Still pondering the absinthe part and why the guy seems to bristle at this statement.


message 16: by Gary (last edited Aug 09, 2009 06:54PM) (new)

Gary | 400 comments Mod
isn't absinthe the stuff they set on fire?? have you ever seen the movie MOULIN ROUGE with nicole kidman, and the english dude? ( i can picture his face, the name escapes me right now!) i've always wanted to try that, if it's the same thing. i've heard it has a licorce flavor. anyway, maybe the reason the guy bristles at her statement is he feels if she doesn't do this abortion that his life will go up in flames, or in smoke,and it limits his choices too? i mean back in these days if a woman got pregnant, you got married. you couldn't get out of it, the way so many young people do today. i know of one family who's daughter before she was 17, had not one, but 2 kids with the same boy. they didn't get married,and the girl's mother raised the kids. no responibility there for either the girl or the boy. but in "the olden days" you got married. no choices!

anyway, no worries about arguing. i find different perspectives refreshing. i also think it's way cool that you've not told me i am a real dumb ass because i don't totally agree with you. a lot of people are like that these days. their way, or the highway!!!! you know what i mean? anyway, it's all your fault, i may have to read this story again ,as i have a few times already. that's what makes discussion so grand,and fun to me, to reread,and see the other person's perspective,and yet feel like your thoughts have some merit too,and to debate it. not argue but debate. viva la difference' there!

anyway, reread !!!

:-)
gary


message 17: by Gary (new)

Gary | 400 comments Mod
well, abortion was a choice, in europe. but in the usa ,no. get married.


message 18: by Matt (new)

Matt I didn't know about the Moulin Rouge thing, Gary. What I know about absinthe is that it is associated with some of the French poets like Rimbaud and Baudelaire. Evidently the wormwood extract in it contained hallucinogenic properties, but also caused insanity over time. Hence the ban in modern times. A couple of years ago I think a company came up with a new formula that is available in the US...kind of intrigued about that.

Also Gary, did you know that while abortion was illegal in the US during that time that it was still available through shady means? In this area it was known cryptically as "going to St. Louis" because that was where it happened. Two of my aunts went to St. Louis in the late 20's/early 30's and one nearly died and was unable to have children forever after. I was massively shocked when my sister informed me of this family skeleton years ago. One of my wife's great aunts died in St. Louis around the same time after taking an impromtu trip with her boyfriend - read between the lines there. This is one of the main reasons that i'm pro-choice, I don't want things to become like that again.

So what does that overly personal ramble have to do with this story? The more that I think about it the more i'm wondering how safe the procedure was in Europe during that time, even if it was legal. Perhaps the American is not only ignoring Jig's desire for a life with him and his child with her, but also for her own personal safety?


message 19: by Gary (new)

Gary | 400 comments Mod
i am certainly intriqued in trying it. you should watch the movie some time. it's really quite interesting,and the drink is featured in it quite a bit. i've actually looked at websites about it,and you can purchase the "new formula" online.

i am prochoice too. slap rush limbaugh if you see him,will ya? what an embarrassment. i've had people from out of state ask me about him when i say i am from missouri.

yeah, i am older then you. i lived through the passing of roe vs. wade,and the trial growing up in the 70's. know all about that. did you ever watch romper room when you were a kid? one of the female hosts got fired from that tv show because she had gone to switzerland for an abortion.

even if it was much safer in europe, any surgical procedure has it's risks. i just had a colonoscopy,and you have to sign a form to be "brought back" and such . putting you under is a danger, and also any cutting of your body can cause death. it's a risk.

brad brought up an interesting point about spain being so heavily catholic,and i responded to that idea. you'll have to read it.

gary


message 20: by Stephen (new)

Stephen (stephenT) by moving the luggage to the "other tracks" what does that indicate? opinions???

The text says he moved the bags to the other side of the station, and there is only one train mentioned, no alternatives were presented in the text. I do not sense from the text that a different direction has been chosen for their journey.

In this story there is a battle happening inside of Jig (just as the unmentioned baby is) as to how much of herself is she willing to give up for the American.

That's all we do, isn't it--look at things and try new drinks? Seems to say that this whole undertaking, our entire relationship, is based on nothing but trying new drinks and looking at things. We have no real relationship beyond that. After we stop looking at things and trying new drinks what is left? Then at the ultimate moment, she says, And once they take it away, you never get it back.


message 21: by Gary (new)

Gary | 400 comments Mod
Stephen wrote: "by moving the luggage to the "other tracks" what does that indicate? opinions???

The text says he moved the bags to the other side of the station, and there is only one train mentioned, no alterna..."


the text says exactly......"He picked up the two heavy bags and carried them around the station to the other tracks."

so, stephen it indicates another set of tracks. in europe they have a fantastic extensive train system that people there use a lot to get around. they also walk a lot. maybe that's why many europeans are not overweight. anyway, they usually have two sets of tracks with like an east bound line,and a west bound line. they don't have just one set of tracks like many american lines have that share the same tracks for both directions. if you look at the last page, almost to the end of the story, it says "other tracks",and since the woman says she's fine at the end,and he's carried the luggage to the "other tracks" doesn't that indicate they are going their separate ways?????




message 22: by Gary (new)

Gary | 400 comments Mod
In this story there is a battle happening inside of Jig (just as the unmentioned baby is) as to how much of herself is she willing to give up for the American.

That's all we do, isn't it--look at things and try new drinks? Seems to say that this whole undertaking, our entire relationship, is based on nothing but trying new drinks and looking at things. We have no real relationship beyond that. After we stop looking at things and trying new drinks what is left? Then at the ultimate moment, she says, And once they take it away, you never get it back.


this is very perceptive,stephen. yes,how much is she willing to give up? everything for him? at the end of the story is she giving up nothing,and going to keep the baby??????? i think so. she's keeping the baby,and giving him up,because as you said, they truly don't have a good enough of a relationship to stay together, especially if he is insistence she give up her unborn child. any other thoughts out there??? matt? brad??? gio???? stephen???? anybody else who's a silent member??? lol!


message 23: by Gary (new)

Gary | 400 comments Mod
stephen?? i expected another response??? lol!


message 24: by Gary (new)

Gary | 400 comments Mod
Gary wrote: "Stephen wrote: "by moving the luggage to the "other tracks" what does that indicate? opinions???

The text says he moved the bags to the other side of the station, and there is only one train menti..."


more of a response to this post, buddy? eh, stephen?



message 25: by Stephen (new)

Stephen (stephenT) Sorry Gary, only today, Thursday the 13th did I get a notice that you'd written anything at all.


message 26: by Gary (new)

Gary | 400 comments Mod
see message 21, about the text about the tracks,and also message 22. just wondering if you had any more thoughts to what i said......????


message 27: by Stephen (new)

Stephen (stephenT) Going separate ways? I don't know. There is only one direction mentioned. I think she is going with him because she has decided to sacrifice herself for him.


message 28: by Gary (new)

Gary | 400 comments Mod
see,i don't see that at all. i think she's dumping him,and that's why he goes into the bar, to drink alone for a bit, cause he's pissed she's not doing what he thinks she should.

anyone else got any thoughts?


message 29: by Gio (new)

Gio (giobannaschlitz) that's interesting that the simple movement of luggage can have so much discussion. i think that yes, she's made her decision and she's not going through with the abortion...and i think he is pissed off about it, but is it because she isn't doing what he wants her to do, or that inevitably she's calling him out as a hypocrite. and will he stick it out to prove her wrong? its like she kept verifying that regardless of what she chose that he'd stay, so she's calling him out on it. hmmmm...i wonder.


message 30: by Gary (last edited Aug 14, 2009 02:15PM) (new)

Gary | 400 comments Mod
i think the simple movement of the luggage,is a very powerful way that hemingway used to make us think , what did she really do? is he gonna stay with her, or not?? i am thinking he isn't.what do you think, gio??

yeah,hemingway is a man of few words which he's been criticized for.... but is he really???? or is he saying so much more with his inferences of what may be be the truth in the story??? this is why i like the man so much!


message 31: by Gio (new)

Gio (giobannaschlitz) i think he'll stay for the first little while...because like i said, she's calling his bluff in a way. but he'll leave and i suspect she expects him to


message 32: by Stephen (new)

Stephen (stephenT) I agree with Gio. In that series of questions which ends with "until they take it away," she is stating clearly that our relationship is built on nothing but seeing things and trying new drinks. I said that in my first review, and I honestly think it is the truth.

He thinks getting rid of the baby is the answer, but it isn't, the baby only brings to a head what she already knows, that he really doesn't care about her beyond sex, seeing things, and trying new drinks.


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