The American man

Outer characterisation

All we know about the male character’s outer characterisation in “Hills Like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway is that he is American, has a relationship with Jig, and the girl is pregnant. The man’s name, age, or looks are not revealed.

He is probably older than the girl. He is referred to as a “man” (p. 475, l. 10) while Jig is referred to as “the girl”. This is also suggested by the way he talks and the fact the he knows Spanish, suggesting he is more experienced than the girl: “ ‘Dos cervezas,’ the man said into the curtain.” (p. 475, l. 12)

Inner characterisation

His inner characterisation is constructed through hints, direct speech, and interaction with the other characters.

For example, it is clear that he is a man who likes travelling. The couple’s luggage and one of Jig’s affirmations indicate that he enjoys travelling and wandering the world without any obligations: “ ‘That’s all we do, isn’t it – look at things and try new drinks?’ ” (p. 476, ll. 20-21); “There were labels on them from all the hotels where they had spent nights.” (p. 478, l. 9)

His lack of imagin...

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