Abortion In Short Stories Literature Review Examples

Type of paper: Literature Review

Topic: Literature, Pregnancy, Abortion, Social Issues, Women, Books, United States, America

Pages: 8

Words: 2200

Published: 2020/12/01

Introduction

Different authors have over the years used their literary works to depict some of the contemporary issues facing the society. In fact, most of the themes in many fictional literary works mirror the major issues that affect the immediate society. The authors usually go to great lengths to pass messages about these issues, particularly on the effect that they have on the society members. Short stories are a particular brand of literature that have since time immemorial been used to portray some of the prevalent themes in the society. Examples of common themes explored include isolation, marital problems, alcoholism, crime, and abortion. The latter has particularly been a favorite of literature authors, and there are tens of short stories by famous authors that explore the theme of abortion. Three examples of short stories whose primary theme is abortion are David Wallace’s Good People, Ernest Hemingway’s Hills like White Elephants’ and Dorothy Parker’s Mr. Durant. Although the three stories have different settings and characters, there is, however, one thing that binds the three stories together. This is the stereotypical m coercion of female characters by males to follow their point of view when a pregnancy occurs between them unexpectedly. Regardless of whether love is or is not present in the relationship, there is a tendency for male characters to try to enforce their point of view or at least secretly hope that the female will adopt a point of view which in most cases involves aborting the baby. This aspect is brilliantly exhibited in the three short stories mentioned; that is David Wallace’s Good People, Ernest Hemingway’s Hills Like White Elephants and Dorothy Parker’s Mr. Durant. This project hopes to explore this concept in these short stories in great detail utilizing a variety of sources

Annotated Bibliography

Hashmi, Nilofer. “Hills Like White Elephants": The Jilting of Jig." The Hemingway Review 23.1 (2003): 72-83.
This article critically reviews Ernest Hemmingway’s ‘Hills like White Elephants” with particular focus on the story’s ending and the future prospects of the couple in the story. In this article, Nilofer acknowledges that there has been an intensive debate among scholars regarding the future of the couple although the general consensus has been that the relationship between the two will either terminate or deteriorate. Nilofer also points out there are three possible scenarios and outcomes to this event. The first is the girl will agree to the abortion (although reluctantly) and will ultimately stay with man who is constantly referred to in the story as ‘The American”. The second possible outcome is the girl will have the abortion and then stay with the man. The final outcome is that the girl will not have the abortion after having convinced the man to adopt her point of view. However, Nilofer goes on to give a fourth argument that she deduces from a dark prognosis that is often present in other scholarly publications on the same issue. This is that the girl will perform the abortion with the expectation of staying with the man but after she has aborted, the man will abandon her. Nilofer contends that there is little love between the man and the woman and that it is clear the relationship of the two is based on sex, and that is why the future does not look too good for them.
This article will be extremely useful in the final research. The article will be sparingly used to furnish the thesis because, from the argument above, the desire of the man to enforce his point of view on the female is very high indeed. This article will be used to show, for example what motivates the man to try to enforce his point of view on the woman so much and why it is so important that the woman follows his point of view. The story will also attempt to show what usually happens after a man has enforced his point of view on the lady. What lays ahead for the woman after subscribing to the woman’s point of view? How does the future of the woman look like after she abandons her own points of view and follow the man? In addition, the essay will be uses as a comparison tool to ‘Good people’. This is because in ‘Good People’, the indication is that the man will stay with the woman if she adopts his point of view and, therefore, Nilofer’s suggestion that the man will leave the girl even after he performs the abortion will be applied to this story.
Ebersole, Lucinda, and Richard Peabody. Coming to Terms: A Literary Response to Abortion. New York: New Press, 1994.
This book conducts an exhaustive look at the theme of abortion in literature and how different authors have often treated this issue. The authors of this book claim that although abortion is a popular topic in social and political environments, it is rarely thought of as a literary inspiration source. However, Ebersole and Peabody go on to state that time has seen different authors write about the process of “coming to terms” with unwanted or unexpected pregnancies. As the two put it, this has resulted in deeply inspirational fiction. The authors also go into deep details about how different characters male and female are treated by fiction authors in this stage of coming to terms with unexpected pregnancy and one of the things that springs up is the desire of a man to enforce his point of view or to simply dictate how the situation is going to be ‘resolved”. However, most fiction authors are careful not to present an official moral and political stance on the issue. Most prefer to stay on the fence and let the character’s thoughts and actions talk for themselves. An example is Ernest Hemmingway’s Hills like White Elephants where the story is told through actions and dialogue of the characters while in “Good People”, the story is expressed through the through the thoughts of the main character Lane.
This book will be extremely useful in the final research where it will furnish it with a lot of valuable information regarding the process of coming to terms with unexpected or an unwanted pregnancy. As discussed above, the authors of the book explore the different points of views that are taken by the parties who are caught in this situation and how they try to enforce their views on one another. The book will also furnish the research with evidence from various literary publications on the issue of abortion and how they have been resolved and what the final decision has often spelled for the parties involved. In relation to the main thesis, a question that might find credible answers from this book is; what happens after the woman has adopted the point of view of the man and has, for example, decided to abort the baby in order to remain with the man?
Weingarten, Karen. Abortion in the American Imagination: Before Life and Choice, 1880-1940. N.p., 2014. Print.
This book explores how different author and filmmakers have treated the issue of abortion throughout the years. The authors of the book present an exhaustive discussion of abortion in both traditional and modern American literature including the characteristics of this situation, the dilemmas that the parties involved find themselves in and how such situations are ultimately resolved. The essay particularly focuses on how women in literature have been forced to undergo gruesome abortions by their male partners and the effect that this has had on the society. In fact, the author of the book shows how an unwanted an unexpected pregnancy brings about increased pressure on a woman that even for the man who is responsible for the baby. Ernest Hemmingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” is one of the stories that is sparingly mentioned in this book where the female character is said to be act crossroads on the issue of aborting her baby. The author’s write that “Hills Like White Elephant’s”, first published in his collection Men without Women follows a conversation between an older man and his mistress as he attempts to convince her to obtain an illegal abortion” (45). “Mr. Durant’s” short story is also mentioned where once again, a man tries to enforce his point of view on woman to commit an abortion which he ultimately succeeds in doing.
This book will be extremely useful in my final research as it will help to develop the thesis and the assertion that in many fictional literature talking about abortion, the male figures always desire to enforce their point of view in the woman without considering the woman’s view. In many occasions, this point of view is to go ahead and abort so as to “save the relationship”.
Gillette, Meg. Modernism's Scarlet Letter: Plotting Abortion in American Fiction, 1900-1945. N.P., 2007. Print.
This book looks at how abortion has been treated in American literature in the last century. The author attempts to relate the concepts in abortion-related literature and the actual situation in the society. One of the main arguments by the author in this book is that unwanted pregnancies have become much more common and consequently, the rate of abortion has been on the rise. Another primary argument by the author is that in many modern settings, it is the woman who is seen to be at fault for allowing herself to get pregnant. Therefore, the woman is under more pressure.
These arguments are very consistent with the three stories that form the core of this research paper. In all three, although the man is involved in the decision-making, it is ultimately the woman who is under more pressure since her decision will affect the nature and future of the relationship with her partner. For example, in “Good People”, the main character wishes for his partner to follow and adopt his point of view since he believes that it will not be in the best interests of their relationship. The same happens in “Hemmingway’s Hill Like White Elephants” where the woman is once again forced to make a decision under huge pressure.
Sauer, R. "Attitudes to abortion in America, 1800–1973." Population Studies28.1 (1974): 53-67.
This essay explores the attitude of the American people towards abortion in the 19th and the 20th Century. The article conducts an exhaustive analysis of popular and professional literature of this time in order to figure out the attitude of the American people towards abortion. According to the authors, the general attitude of the American people towards abortion is traceable through some of the literary works authored during this period. Once again, several aspects about abortion and that are in line with essay’s main thesis are brought into the limelight. This included the assumption that the woman is at fault for the unexpected pregnancy and thus the increased pressure that the woman faces, especially from the man who is responsible for the pregnancy.
This article will be of great use to final research paper because it combines literature and the real situation in the society. Therefore, it will aid in the analysis of three short stories regarding the treatment of women and aborting and how this is a reflection of the real situation in the society.
Koloze, Jeff. An Ethical Analysis of the Portrayal of Abortion in American Fiction: Dreiser, Hemingway, Faulkner, Dos Passos, Brautigan, and Irving. Edwin Mellen Press, 2005.
This article explores some of the greatest authors in American literature and how they have approached and treated the issue of abortion. The writers of this article try to trace where authors of fictional literature have depicted abortion as an ethical issue or an unethical aspect. One of the works of literature that has received huge attention in the article is Ernest Hemmingway’s ‘Hills Like White Elephants’. The argument brought out is that Hemmingway has designed his story in such way that it is only he reader who can decide whether abortion is ethical or not depending on the interpretation of the actions committed by characters in the story.
This book will be very beneficial to the final research, it will furnish the research with good points regarding the treatment of abortion in American literature over the years and the ethical approach that authors have given to this issue.

Here, the background the thesis or topic will be discussed. The primary sources, the three main stories) will then be mentioned. A brief summary of each of the three primary sources will be given this will include a summary of the contemporary issues explored in each of the. The main thesis will then be stated.

Body

In this part, the thesis will be defended utilizing content from the three primary sources as well as content from the supporting sources. Each of the points argued will be supported by examples from the primary sources or stories as well as discussions from the supporting sources. Each point will be expounded conclusively to prove the thesis. There will be three main points that will be discussed in the body section of the paper.

The issue of abortion comes into the limelight when an unexpected pregnancy occurs between a man and woman

There is increased pressure for the woman in regard to the unexpected pregnancy than the pressure that is placed on the man
The man will predominantly try to enforce his point of view on the woman and in most cases, the man puts an ultimatum on the relationship whereby the only way to save the relationship is by committing an abortion

Conclusion

This section will begin with a restatement of the main thesis. It will then be followed by summary of the main points argued. This will be flowed by closing word and the author’s opinion in the subject.

Works Cited

Hashmi, Nilofer. “Hills Like White Elephants": The Jilting of Jig." The Hemingway Review 23.1 (2003): 72-83.
Koloze, Jeff. An Ethical Analysis of the Portrayal of Abortion in American Fiction: Dreiser, Hemingway, Faulkner, Dos Passos, Brautigan, and Irving. Edwin Mellen Press, 2005.
Ebersole, Lucinda, and Richard Peabody. Coming to Terms: A Literary Response to Abortion. New York: New Press, 1994.Gillette, Meg. Modernism's Scarlet Letter: Plotting Abortion in American Fiction, 1900-1945. N.p., 2007. Print.
Weingarten, Karen. Abortion in the American Imagination: Before Life and Choice, 1880-1940. N.p., 2014. Print.
Sauer, R. "Attitudes to abortion in America, 1800–1973." Population Studies28.1 (1974): 53-67.

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