The Birth-Mark versus Hills Like White Elephants
In the short stories “The Birth-Mark” and “Hills Like White Elephants” the themes: talking versus communicating, the foolishness of striving for perfection, and ultimately male dominance are portrayed heavily. Both of the protagonists in the stories, Jig and Georgiana, share a problem of their significant other trying to convince them to do things they do not particularly wish to do. Although the plot in each story may differ, Hemingway and Hawthorne are able to relate their stories together by using a theme and forms of symbolism that are shared by both the protagonists.
The characters in the two stories can be compared in different ways. Each of the stories contains two main characters: The American and the girl, Jig, from “Hills Like White Elephants” and Alymer and Georgiana, from “The Birth-Mark.” Both male characters, the American and Alymer attempt to convince the female characters to do something they do not necessarily wish to do. Throughout the story, the American is trying to convince Jig to have an operation; more specifically, an abortion. This is similar to Alymer trying to convince Georgiana to go through with the removal of a birthmark on her face. The theme of male dominance flows through both stories and can be seen by how both the American and Alymer are trying to control what the girls do with their own bodies.
In “Hills Like White Elephants” the other major theme being used is talking versus communicating. Unlike in “The Birth-Mark,” where Alymer is able to communicate clearly with Georgiana and tell her what exactly he wants her to do, the American man and Jig give numerous examples of lacking communication skills. Although the story is basically a conversation between the two characters, neither of them really communicates which prevents them from truly listening and understanding where the other is coming from. It’s clear how frustrated the American man is and he’s...