In the story “Hills Like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway, only three characters appear: the man, the girl nicknamed Jig, and the woman serving at the bar.

The detached narrative style makes it very difficult to pinpoint if there is a protagonist and identify him/her. However, subtle hints in the text imply that the girl may be more important than the man in the story: the title, the fact that we know only her name and the dialogue in the text begins and ends with her lines, and that she is the one with the most active role in the dialogue.

It is unclear whether Jig is a developing character or not. By the end of the story, we do not know for sure whether Jig has made up her mind regarding abortion.

The American man is not a developing character, and maintains the same attitude towards Jig, attempting to convince her to have an abortion.

In what follows, we will outline some traits of both the man and the girl.


Jig is the female character in Ernest Hemingway's story “Hills Like White Elephants”, a “girl”, as the narrator repetitively mentions. Her outer characterisation is vague. It is unclear whether she is an American like her partner, but since she only speaks English, we can assume she is from an English-speaking country. Since is often called ‘the girl’, the story suggests that she might be quite young and inexpe...

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