Women’s Choices in the 19-20th Centuries Literature

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Words: 274

“White Elephant Hills,” “Desiree’s Baby,” and “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” by Ernest Hemingway, Kate Chopin, and Flannery O’Connor; all address women’s choices in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Women had a terrible situation in terms of their life choices and independence during this period. Instead of desiring sexual or emotional fulfillment, they were expected to desire marriage since it allowed women to become mothers (Peterson). A woman’s presence in higher education or professional job was likewise deemed improper (Peterson). These emotional illnesses have resulted in a variety of psychiatric issues, which have been well documented in the literature.

The tale “Hills Like White Elephants” is about abortion. Throughout the novel, it is evident that the man wants the lady to undergo the procedure, despite the fact that he never raises the health risks – “awfully and perfectly simple” (Hemingway 51). The story’s premise is further emphasized by the use of white elephants as a symbol. At first look, this gift seemed to be an honor because the white elephant was regarded as sacred. On the other hand, keeping an elephant would be so expensive that the receiver would go bankrupt; therefore, the white elephant is a burden. Because a man can never get pregnant and may absolve himself of responsibility for a woman’s pregnancy, the two conceivable meanings of white elephants – female fertility and undesired objects – are mixed here. “Hills Like White Elephants” is a multi-layered and complex narrative. Readers are left to speculate whether the lady will get an abortion, if they will continue together, and if one of them knows the answers to these concerns.

Works Cited

Hemingway, Ernest. “Hills Like White Elephants”, 1927.

Peterson, Linda H. Becoming a Woman of Letters. Princeton University Press, 2021.