Analysis Of ' Hills Like White Elephants '

1876 Words8 Pages
A reoccurring thematic issue in our society, as portrayed in “Hills Like White Elephants” and “Cat in the Rain”, is that gender controls every aspect of our lives. Gender roles have socialized us to obey and maintain strict rules that keep us accepted in society, “Once gender identity is developed, all thoughts, actions, and behavior is organized around it. When they find out what gender means in their life, they embrace that understanding in ways that create and reinforce gender stereotypes” (Lindsey,72). Hemingway demonstrates this concept in the two stories by showing gender role effects on language, choices, and image. In the stories, both women feel trapped, and unable to fend for themselves. Both of which who are unnamed, the women…show more content…
As a result, men and women end up living in two very different worlds with very different social norms and freedoms. These roles, however, often favor men, limiting girls in the process. Girls are seen as small, weak, and in need, “Girls, in contrast to boys, are offered subordinate, less prestigious roles that encourage difference in dependence and social standards” (Lindsey,71). They are expected to behave appropriately by maintaining their silence, and seek approval for their opinions or desires. Consequently, men are encouraged to be aggressive, speak their mind, and maintain control, “Gender typing is encouraged, and occurs throughout the lifespan. This socialization sends powerful messages that teach boys and girls what is gender appropriate. Such norms like separation, independence, and control for boys and connection, interdependence, and cautious behaviors for girls” (Lindsey,79). Hemingway offers an example of these gender expectations relating to behavior in both stories. Regarding “Cat in the Rain”, George enforces this by offering to go out into the rain for his wife to get the cat, and instructs her not to get wet (Hemingway, 1). The comments may seem harmless, but they contribute to the overall view of women being incapable, fragile, and needing of help. George also aggressively asserts his power during a conversation when he explicitly speaks his mind to his wife, telling her to “Shut up and read something”
Get Access