All of the sudden, the two characters featured in "Hills Like White Elephants" are faced with a whole new identity: that of being parent. This very short story explores what can happen when one parent wants to reject the new identity, while the other wants to accept it. Much more so than today, in the late 1920s, when this story was written, there was a stigma attached to having children outside of wedlock. As such, the possibility of yet another new identity, that of husband or wife, is also raised, though very subtly. Again, one character wants to embrace the new identity, the other wants to reject it. The way the two characters deal with all this in a public conversation also raises the question of public versus private identity.
Being able to speak and understand Spanish is a big part of the man’s identity.
Jig feels that having an abortion will destroy her sense of identity.