Paul Rankin presented a critical analysis of Hemingway’s “Hills like White Elephant” utilizing Carl Jung’s concept of male jealousy of female pregnancy stating that man feels inferior to woman’s ability to produce new life. Rankin elucidated that many of the readers thinks that the man is influencing the woman to do something that is against her will in the short story of Ernest Hemingway’s Hill’s like White Elephant.
Rankin pointed out that another most important opinion that interpret a “pattern of subversion” where the woman is manipulating both the conversation and the man through a very subtle way, while just pretending to be submissive to him (Rankin 234). It seems that this interpretation holds some weight as the girl effectively putting the conversation to her favor. In his critical analysis of the story, Rankin exploited the concept developed by the famous psychologist Carl Gustav Jung about male Jealousy of female pregnancy.
Jung held that man’s jealousy is derived from the valuation of the mother for those whose sake everything that embrace, protects, and nourishes help assumes maternal form. However, Rankin noted that the story come out as a “series of parries that demonstrate Jigs superiority in terms of her “cognitive and cognative intelligence against the man’s argument for Jigs to abort her pregnancy. Karen Horney on the other hand, viewed the man’s actuation as a feeling of inadequacy and inferiority “in the face of Jig’s imminent transformation from a girl into motherhood” (p. 235).
Rankin noted that the man’s insistence on the issue even to the point of self contradiction citing the abortion an “awfully simple operation” and goes on that “it is not an operation at all” (p. 235) indicate the man’s awareness of Jig’s formidable intelligence and will. Horney identifies this reaction as inferiority complex on the part of the man. Does in his narrative, Rankin speculated that Jigs was either relinquishing her will to the superior and dominant male or may be manipulating him to her own advantage “by giving him all the allusion of the upper hand” (p.
236). Rankin’s analysis of the conversation reveals Jigs superior intelligence in such a way that she can manipulates the man with out ever realizing it. Rankin asserts, “Thus we see Jig powerfully asserting her will, and doing so in such a way that she averts unnecessary confrontation several paragraphs before we encounter the discussion of the operation” (p. 236). Based on the out come of the debate, Rankin pictured the man as one who cares only of his own self and he is truly self-centered and has an insecure motivation but was outsmart and out reasoned by Jigs.
Rankin was obviously sympathetic with Jigs and he seems to admire her ability to take her surroundings and to find ways to diffuse man’s anger, as Rankin’s opinion was all an affirmation of Jigs intelligent discourses with the man. He finds Jig controlling the conversation in such an aggressive manner and most of the time sarcastic, yet powerfully emphasizes her points. Rankin particularly cited the case in which Jig shifts the focus “from something she knows that the man does not to something he knows that she does not” (p. 236).
This has something to do with that particular drink called Anis del Toro. In this particular case, the man tried to exploit Jig’s lack of idea about what that drink was. The man said, “That’s the way with everything” (p. 236). The girl replied in sarcastic mode that reads, “All the things you’ve waited so long for like absinthe. ” Rankin stated the girl appears she knew what kind of drink the man was offering her, Absinthe was thought to be a clear indication that she was well aware of the drink’s composition when she responded “especially all the things that you’ve waited so long for, like absinthe.
Absinthe can cause abortion. To some extent, Rankin’s analysis of the intellectual debate pictures not only who is smarter between the two. It is also portrayal of the conflict of principle and values. The man’s principle and values is obviously narrow as he cares only of his own happiness and he wanted to avoid responsibility, as it will deprive him of his precious liberty. The man loves to travel and enjoy the benefit of being single, which he now stand to lose when the baby is born as he will be oblige to be responsible family man.
He tried to persuade Jig that it advantage for them if the child will be aborted, on the premise that they will be happier and can go anywhere when only two of them. However, Jig’s responses to his narrow elucidation were full of both intelligent argument and sarcasm. Rankin beautifully illustrated the difference between the man’s narrow values and principle and Jig’s strong conviction to stand her ground through subtle and intelligent manipulation of the discussion and effectively winning the argument.
In the ensuing argument, Rankin noted that as the confrontation becomes entirely necessary, the flurry of verbal punches only serve s to intensify Jig’s resistance, as she grows more explicit in her refusal. Jig repeated several times “No, We can’t, which according to Rankin is an ironic refute of the man’s assent to her own sarcastic declaration that “we could have any thing. ” However, as the confrontation goes on, it appears that the man did not really understand the point of view of the woman.
This gave Jig enough reason to correct the man for the last time and to silence him. The man failed to realize that the girl was actually referring to the abortion he want the girl to do. It was only when the girl clearly said, “No it isn’t. In addition, when they take it away, you never get it back that he proves jig’s point”. Again, Rankin was able to demonstrate how effectively the girl overpowered the man’s narrow principle and values.
Rankin cited that the man continues to hang on to his selfish desires and argues with the girl on this narrow point of view. No wonder, Rankin stressed that the girl effectively shut him down completely and “closes off further negotiation” (p. 236). As they waited for their train to Madrid, the man attempted to open up further discussion at once. The man treated Jig’s pregnancy like a burden or an illness. Rankin said that the woman “equates the pregnancy, and by implication the child, with the world” (p.
236). However, no matter how the man argues, Jig’s deep conviction not give in to the man’s assertion was finally sealed by the girl’s declaration that reads, “There’s nothing wrong with me. ” Rankin then concludes that indeed, the white elephant was never the abortion or even the unborn child it self, because it was always s the man. In general, Rankin identified several issues that have become the topic of the intelligent debate between the American and the girl.
First, is the debate based on the man’s jealousy and inferiority; second, the debate between the conflicts of principle based on reason and feelings; and third, the debate on what is better for them based on happiness and accomplishment. In all of this debate, Rankin prominently portrayed the girl as a strong, intelligent, yet often sarcastic, and with deep conviction, to stand to what is right. Rankin beautifully made the Hemingway’s short interesting and suspenseful.
Rankin, P. Literary Critic Hills Like White Elephants