Hills Like White Elephants
How we cite our quotes:
The American and the girl with him sat at a table in the shade, outside the building. (1)
"American" and "girl" are how the narrator identifies the two main characters. Interesting how the narrator says Jig is with the man, instead of that he is with her. Does this tell us about the narrator’s outlook on relationships, or is this a comment on how the two characters act when they are together?
"All right. I was trying. I said the mountains looked like white elephants. Wasn't that bright?" (31)
It seems important to Jig’s identity in this moment that the man think her intelligent. We also detect a note of sarcasm in her voice. If the man is a Hemingway-esque character (i.e., a writer), is she also slyly insulting a major part of his identity, the part that speaks in simile and metaphor?
"It's really an awfully simple operation, Jig," the man said. (42)
We wonder if the man believes what he is saying, or if he’s saying it try to persuade Jig. How you answer that will determine how you look at his identity, whether you think he’s a dishonest, manipulative, or severely misinformed person. For more on the man, check out his "Character Analysis."