Good Literature Review On Hills Like White Elephant And Black Man And White Woman In Dark Green Rowboat
Black Man and White Woman in Dark Green Rowboat is story written by Russell Banks.
While the Hills like White Elephant is a short story written by Earnest Hemingway. The stories talk about abortion, even though the word is not mentioned directly. They involve two characters caught up in a situation and are both trying to solve their issues through abortions. The Hills like White Elephant story is about a man and a woman about to set for a trip to a place where they can procure an abortion. The story is set in Spain as the man and the girl are waiting for a train at the train station, but we are never told if they boarded the train or not. On the other hand, Black Man and White Woman in Dark Green Rowboat is a story a woman and a man who are conversing in a green rowboat about an abortion. Both stories enjoy some similarities, but there are some differences between in the stories. Both narrations revolve around a female and a male character as protagonists.
Earnest Hemingway and Russell Banks use the iceberg method to tell their stories. The authors use underlying messages in their texts while narrating their stories. The readers have to find out the theme or the real meaning of the stories on their own by reading between the lines. A good example is when Russell Banks writes about the pregnant girl. The girl says “I’m already putting on weight,” meaning she is pregnant, and the reader has to find this on his/her own (Banks). The conversation that follows after the scene makes the reader conclude that the girl is pregnant, and the chat between her and the man is making her uncomfortable because of her situation.
In Hills like White Elephant, Earnest Hemingway uses dialogue and underlying messages to narrate the story. For instance, he writes “You’ve got to realize, that I don’t want you to do it if you don’t want to. I’m perfectly willing to go through with it if it means anything to you” (Hemingway).Through this conversation, it is easy to understand that, there is a pregnant woman and there is a plan for an abortion. Nonetheless, the author does not write it plainly that the girl is pregnant and she has to procure an abortion. The readers have to find out that on their own through the dialogue and narrations in the story. Therefore, in both stories, the authors do not put their words plainly by explaining the issue of pregnancy and abortion. By reading between the lines, the readers are able to identify the problem between the characters.
Apart from the similarity in the use of the iceberg method in narrating their stories, the stories have a similar setting. The Hills like White Elephant is set in Barcelona in a train station. While the Black Man and White Woman in Dark Green Rowboat story is set on a lake in a row boat. Both the setting are in a place of transit. In the Black Man and White Woman in Dark Green Rowboat, the story takes pace in a lake and starts with a conversation between a man and a woman being referred to as “the girl.” In Hemingway’s The Hills like White Elephant, the story starts with the characters; a man and a woman converse about pregnancy in a train station in Spain. The stories are about individuals making a decision about abortion, and the fact that according to the stories the characters are stuck in a place of transit means that, their lives are stuck because of an individual problem that needs to be solved, a pregnancy, and abortion.
One common theme in the stories the Hills Like White Elephants and Black Man and White Woman in Dark Green Rowboat is the theme of abortion. Throughout these stories, the readers are able to understand the topic in a broad way through the characters. The main characters in the stories are contemplating about making a decision on abortion. Another common theme in the stories is pregnancy. The girls in the stories are both pregnant and they are being convinced to go for an abortion.
Making a choice is another present theme in the stories. The pregnant girls in the stories are stuck between choices as a choice has to be made on whether they go for an abortion. They are forced to go for an abortion, yet they are not sure of the decisions being made for them. For instance, in Hills like White Elephant, Jig is has nothing else to do until she accepts saying “Then I’ll do it because, I don’t care about me” (Hemingway) In addition, even though they are not comfortable with the only choice available, they have to deal with the unwanted pregnancies. Banks and Hemingway only narrates about the discussion the characters have on the choices to make in order to solve their problems. Nonetheless, they do not give us the exact choice that was made by the protagonists.
In both stories there are female characters that are referred to as "the girl". There is a little significance as to why the female characters were referred to as "the girl". Nonetheless, as one reads between the lines, it is clear that the characters were both young girls stuck in a situation and a decision was being made for them. For instance in Black Man and White Woman in Dark Green Rowboat, while talking to the man about her mother, the girls says "She worries about me a lot, you know, she's afraid for me; she thinks I'm fragile" (Banks ). In her words, she is talking all about what her mother thinks about the situation, and not what she feels should be done. Moreover, she even says that her mother has already arranged for the abortion in the afternoon, meaning she is young, and decisions are made for her. In Hemingway’s Hills like White Elephant, the girl was young, and the man was the one making decisions for her. This is evident when the man says “I know you won't mind it, Jig. It's really not anything," and "the girl" kept quiet about the issue (Hemingway). The man was making decisions for the girl here, and the girl had no say because she is young and has to come out of this difficult situation. Therefore, in both stories, the female characters seem young, and decisions are made on their behalf.
One notable difference in the stories Hills like White Elephants and Black Man and White Woman in Dark Green Rowboat is the naming of the characters. In Black Man and White Woman in Dark Green Rowboat, the author does not disclose the identity and names of the characters; instead, Russell Banks uses imageries to describe his characters. Throughout the story, Banks uses descriptive imageries to introduce and describe his characters and what they are going through. For instance, he writes “Her long, honey-blond hair swung from side to side across her tanned shoulder” (Banks). In addition, Earnest Hemingway uses underlying words to hide the real meaning of what he is trying to say. For instance, the author uses the words Hills and Elephants in a story that is about pregnancy and abortion. In the story, hills might mean pregnancy while elephants can mean problems brought about by unwanted pregnancy and leads to abortion.
In contrast, in the Hills like White Elephants, the author uses names for his characters. Even though some are not real names, but at least he uses names that can identify the characters for instance, “the American and the girl as well as jig” (Hemingway). Nonetheless, the authors do not give the audience names they can identify the characters with. In addition, Banks and Hemmingway use two characters that have been in an intimate relationship. The protagonists in both stories are involved in a situation that came about because of their intimate relationship. At least in all the stories, one character is being convinced into engaging in a life-changing act that might affect them. Even though the authors do not mention what has to be done, it is clear that the girls in the stories are pregnant and are being convinced to go for an abortion. The stories Hills like White Elephant and Black Man and White Woman in Dark Green Rowboat have no real ending. At the end of the narrations, the authors do not reveal what exactly happened; they leave it for the reader to decide and end the story. Hemingway and Banks only give a few details about the characters and the situations they are in and suggest how the ending could be.
In conclusion, Hills like White Elephant and Black Man and White Woman in Dark Green Rowboat are stories that have a lot of similarities than differences. Hemingway and Banks use the iceberg method to narrate their stories and leave the reader to find out what is really occurring in the stories as well as the ending. The reader is forced to come out with the meaning of the stories after reading between the lines. The authors use symbolism to explain a controversial issue that arises in the stories, but they fail to give a solution or rather tell the readers what actually happened in the end. In addition, both stories have a similar setting but at different places. The characters were all on transit so as to go procure an abortion. Apart from the similarities, there are differences in the two stories; for instance, the naming of the characters. In Black Man and White Woman in Dark Green Rowboat, Banks fails to reveal the names of the characters and only narrates about a woman and a man. While in the Hills Like White Elephant, the author at least names the girl jig and let the reader know that, there is an American and a girl. The two stories are interesting masterpieces that leaves the reader wondering what happened in the end. The authors create an ending with a suspense making the story thought provoking and entertaining.
Charters Ann and Charters Samuel. Literature and Its Writers: A Compact Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. New York: Bedford/St. Martin's, Fifth Edition, 2009. Print.
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