When we campare the different issues and paper sometimes it’s too hard to find the main and common them in them. When comparison the papers “Hills Like White Elephants” by Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Babylon Revisited,” and “The Man Who Was Almost a Man” by Richard Wright, there is the same plot of imagination and destruction of men’s soul. Sometimes people can be blinded by love or even disillusioned. They allow themselves to be controlled or manipulated by their partner and in the end are in a situation that they would otherwise never find themselves in. The short story “Hills Like White Elephants” deals with the touchy subject of abortion.
In this story Hemingway portrays a young couple who is traveling a long distance to have an abortion and he does it in a subtle way using contrasting settings, reoccurring themes, and tone. The story illustrates the relationship of a couple who cannot communicate with one another. But rather than paint his picture through a character study as he did in the earlier story, this time Hemingway uses the tools of allusion and innuendo. A lot of critics study the symbol of elephant in this shot story. “…a pregnant woman looks like she has the stomach of an elephant – certainly not the way most men want to see their lovers – and “white elephant” is a euphemism for something nobody wants, in this case the baby.
Their symbolic communication is similarly shown by the way they tiptoe around real names…” The same plot we can describe in the F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Babylon Revisited”. The main hero of this story is Charlie’s imagination. The character of Charlie Wales uses imagination to visualize a much better life than the one he is living now. He is reunited with his daughter and life is good. This is a positive thing in that he is taking steps to improve himself. Even if his fantasy never comes true, it is a goal worth striving for. The first meeting with city and his past Charlie spent in bar. From this we learn that Charlie has had a problem with alcohol and that this is a situation all too common in his social circle.
At last he understarnd and his description of his world, that we come to understand the sad dissipation of his life. The opening paragraphs establish that he has been away for a while, and much has changed. He describes what his old haunts are like now, alluding to the fact that the bar used to be busier; that many of his friends have gone away, or gone to the dogs, or gotten sick; that no one has the kind of disposable income that they used to; that he used to drink excessively, but has disciplined himself to one drink a day. We see that Charlie is sincerely trying to re-invent himself, and we think he deserves a chance. In the story, “The Man Who Was Almost a Man” a gun gives Dave, the main character, the feeling of being a man.
He feels, “a sense of power” in possessing a gun in his hands. From that point on, “…nobody could run over him; they would have to respect him.” This was the mentality of Dave who has experienced life for only seventeen years and believes he is “almost a man.” He thought the gun that he bought for two dollars from Joe would give his the power to be invincible. The Man Who Was Almost a Man depends largely on symbolism to convey the theme and true meaning of the story. Dave, the main character, is illustrated fumbling through life with frustration.
Dave wants dearly to gain the respect and power so closely associated with manhood. In his quest to achieve such respect, Dave sees the men in the fields shooting their guns. Dave decides promptly that he will purchase a gun and impress the men with his skill in handling the weapon. A large portion of the story’s symbolism lays with this premise. The gun, to Dave, symbolizes, and even represents, manhood. Dave, of course, procures his desired weapon and finds himself burdened by the restitution he must pay for murdering the mule.
Interestingly, the mule symbolizes true manhood; responsibility. Dave, not ready to grapple with this new responsibility decides to run away. Dave is fortified with the power and manliness that he sees in the gun. It is this object which gives Dave the courage to face the unknown. Finally, Dave jumps onto the train and, “he felt his pocket; the gun was still there”.
As for destruction of peoples soul, the Hemingway story is a powerful one about the force that love can play upon people and all of the consequences that that power can sometimes bring. It is actually a strategy for power and control by guilt. The “I-love-you-but… person” uses negativity for leverage. This is really a manipulative ploy that allows her to remain distant while indicating that you should compromise to counteract the but… It represents withholding, not love, on the part of the speaker. And it is a form of verbal and emotional abuse. The man in the story is exercising that power over the girl in order to have what is best for him carried out by any means necessary. He manipulates the situation to fulfill his mechanical unemotional needs and make sure he will be ok in the end with no regard or a lack of attention to what the woman wants.
Names, Words and small details all lead us to believe that the husband is not acting in an honorable way. I guess it is true what they say, never talk about those three issues unless you are ready for a heated debate. Abortion is one of the touchiest subjects that anyone can ever talk about and Hemingway does a great job using that subject in a somewhat subtle way to show the contrasting emotions of a man and woman facing the same decision about whether or not to keep the baby that is in question. Dr. Joyce Brothers said “Love comes when manipulation stops; when you think more about the other person than about his or her reactions to you. When you dare to reveal yourself fully. When you dare to be vulnerable.”
In “Babylon Revisited,” when the story begins the reader forms many assumptions of Charlie. He comes to claim his daughter. He is lonely. His wife has died and in the past he has lost the ability to care for his daughter. All his friends that used to live in Paris are gone. Immediately upon arrival in Paris, he goes into an old bar where he used to hangout and asks the bartender where some of the people he once knew are. He even continues to leave his brother-in-law’s address with the bartender in case he should see Mr. Schaeffer (an old friend), so that he could contact Charlie.
Although he later says that “he was not really disappointed to find Paris so empty”, he was feeling alone after being away for so long and was just looking for a familiar face. Charlie’s need is more for the company rather than an genuine urge to see his old friends. Charlie is a bit deflated at this point as the story comes to an end. He knows deep down that at least for now he will not be getting his daughter. He is sitting at the Ritz Bar having his single drink of the day when the bartender brings up his losses during the stock market crash. He is alone again. He is down but not defeated, but assures us that this will not beat him.
After shooting the gun and accidentally killing Jenny, the main hero “The Man Who Was Almost a Man” turned into a child covering his misconduct. It’s the same soul destruction. He lied to the owner of Jenny and made up a phony and unbelievable story of the occurrence. After he finally confessed to shooting Jenny he is held accountable for paying two dollars from his monthly wages until the fifty dollars are paid in full for the dead mule. Paying the money would have shown Dave’s maturity if he had only done so. Instead, he runs off and leaves his poor family in debt with the owner of Jenny. He takes the easy way out and decides to run away holding the thing that made him irresponsible, selfish and a coward for strength.
In the end Dave throws away his opportunity to prove to his family and to himself that he was a man. Dave’s “sense of power” is a false one. A gun does not give one power. Real power comes fro within. One’s morals, beliefs, and standards gives an individual power not a weapon. Dave needs to learn respect and responsibility before he can become a man. One has to respect a gun, and one has to be responsible when owning a gun. These issues Dave has not yet learned. I believe that the story does not bring this home to Dave. He runs away from his problems instead of taking responsibility for his actions.
In closing, we see that each one of these stories uses imagination in one form or another. Sometimes it is good, sometimes it is bad. Whether it is good or bad though, it is still vital to each specific character and should not be ignored.
- O-Brian, Timothy. The Hemingway Review. Allusion, Word-Play, and the Central Conflict in Hemingway’s ‘Hills Like White Elephants’. 15. 1995 Chadwick Healey Publishing
- Renner, Stanly. The Hemingway Review. Moving Towards the Girl in Hills Like White Elephants. 12. 1992: Chadwick Healey Publishing.
- Karen Bernardo Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants”
- Hemingway, Ernest. “Hills Like White Elephants.” The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction. Ed. R.V. Cassill. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. 1981. 613-617.
- “Symbolism.” The Bedford Introduction to Literature. Ed. Michael Meyer. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s. 2002. 220.
- Karen Bernardo F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Babylon Revisited”
- Correspondence of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Eds. Matthew J. Bruccoli and Margaret M. Duggan. New York: Random House, 1980.
- Amanda Cannon “An Obsession” 07 March 2000
- Patience Carter Morrill Books The Man Who Was Almost A Man 2000