The national debate over abortion usually centers on the legal and political controversies.
But it is in the human heart where the greatest conflicts over abortion arise, both within itself and in its relationship with others.
These conflicts create a void, an absence of love, which severs the moral, emotional, and psychological ties connecting human beings to one another including their unborn children. Alienation, estrangement, guilt, a sense of loss, and loneliness are the consequence. In this very personal, private realm, literature often provides greater illumination than polemics.
One of the most profound descriptions of this spiritual desolation is presented in Ernest Hemingway’s searing short story, “Hills Like White Elephants,” in which abortion is never mentioned explicitly.
This story originally appeared in Hemingway’s 1927 collection, Men Without Women, fourteen stories representing some of his earliest and most compelling writing. Dorothy Parker, who reviewed this volume in the New Yorker, said that it showed Hemingway’s influence to be “dangerous” in that “the simplest thing he does looks so easy to do. But look at the boys who try to do it.”
This collection also contained “The Killers,” which was translated to the screen in director Robert Siodmak’s 1946 film noir improvisation starring Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner.
“Hills Like White Elephants” opens with a man, described as an American, and a “girl” sitting just outside a bar at a train station somewhere between Barcelona and Madrid. Within view are the hills across the Ebro River valley which, according to the narrator, “were long and white.”
At the outset the conversation between the two characters is maddeningly banal, focusing on their drinks and the heat. The girl, looking at the hills, which were white in the sun, the country brown and dry, says, “They look like white elephants.”
The American says he never saw one to which the girl replies, “No, you wouldn’t have.”
“I might have,” says the man. “Just because you say I wouldn’t have doesn’t prove anything.”
The girl returns to her concerns: the next round of drinks, whether to take them with water, and how they tasted. At this point the conversation becomes testy when the girl says that everything taste likes licorice. The man tells her to cut it out, and she retorts that “You started it! I was being amused. I was having a fine time.”
“Well, let’s try and have a fine time,” says the American.p>They agree that the girl’s observation that the hills looked like white elephants was “bright.” After a bit more, back and forth, about the hills and drinks, the conversation takes an abrupt turn: br> /p>
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?