Hills Like White Elephants

by: Ernest Hemingway

The Bartender Quotes

Quotes The Bartender Quotes
The woman brought two glasses of beer and two felt pads. She put the felt pads and the beer glasses on the table and looked at the man and the girl. The girl was looking off at the line of hills.

As the only character in the short story apart from the couple, the bartender alone can observe the man and girl objectively. When she first sees them here, she notices that, rather than looking at the man, the girl gazes off in the distance, showing that something distracts her from her present surroundings.

The man called “Listen” through the curtain. The woman came out from the bar.

When the man speaks a command through the curtain into the bar, the bartender immediately comes out to serve him. This interaction sets up the dynamic between the man and his girlfriend for the rest of the story. He demands a hearing and wants to make the decisions, and the girl seems used to blindly following his lead.

“What did she say?” asked the girl.

After the bartender tells the man, in Spanish, that the train will arrive in five minutes, the girl has to ask the man to translate as she does not speak Spanish. The bartender represents foreignness in this story, showing how out of her own depth the girl feels not only because she is in a foreign country, but also because she has found herself unexpectedly pregnant.