Hills Like White Elephants

by: Ernest Hemingway

The Girl

Characters The Girl

Compared to the American, Hemingway’s overly masculine character, the girl is less assertive and persuasive. Throughout the story, the girl appears helpless, confused, and indecisive. She changes her mind about the attractiveness of the surrounding hills, for example; claims to selflessly care only for the American; and seems uncertain about whether she wants to have the operation. In fact, the girl can’t even order drinks from the bartender on her own without having to rely on the man’s ability to speak Spanish. Ironically, the girl seems to understand that her relationship with the American has effectively ended, despite her professed desire to make him happy. She knows that even if she has the operation, their relationship won’t return to how it used to be. In many ways, the girl’s realization of this fact gives her power over the American, who never really understands why they still can’t have “the whole world” like they once did.