Sunday, September 28, 2008

White elephants

white elephant
1. a possession unwanted by the owner but difficult to dispose of

One thing I like to do when I read these stories is I imagine if it would be any different if we were to transpose the characters into different genders, different classes, different times, etc. What if "Hills like White Elephants" was instead set in the current century? Some guys in class have said that it's also a critique of the old roaring 1920's way of life versus the grounded Depression generation. I don't think so; I think it's more of a critique of the hedonist vs the realist, the immature vs the mature. It made me think, "Jesus, if I were a kid who knocked up my girlfriend at 16, I'd freak out like this guy in the story! I'd want her to have the abortion, I'd be thinking about my future and how a baby would ruin it and ruin my current lifestyle, I'm too young for that, I still want to have fun!" And then I wrote my short story for Friday's quiz.

Jig, like many sensible young women, wants to settle down and start a family; she's sick of all the travelling and all the drinking. She doesn't want to add another hotel sticker to her luggage, she doesn't want to try new drinks. Their hedonistic lifestyle has become, ironically, routine. Once upon a time, they'd led exciting lives, eager to try out everything, but now everything tastes and feels the same. She wants more from life.

Unfortunately, her male companion is like most boys, still not eager to leave his partying days behind him. While Jig sees the baby as a white elephant, a rare and precious addition to her mundane life of drinking and traveling, the American sees the other side of the term "white elephant" - he sees the baby as an obstacle to his favored hedonistic lifestyle.

Props to him for sticking with her, though. If we'd transposed this couple to this century, he'd have ditched her and ran away as far and as fast as he can. So I guess he feels strongly enough about Jig...but is it strong enough to quit his way of life for her?

1 comment:

Jacob said...

You say, "
Props to him for sticking with her, though."

Yet, earlier you said you'd want to cut out to have "fun", so no props to yourself? I believe taking another's life to convenience yourself is terrible, to say the least not respectable. Then, I must ask if you intentionally put those statements in the same blog implying you don't have respect for your self. How do you feel about abortion?