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The story is a conversation between a man and a girl and it is regarding an issue that brings about conflicting opinions. Diverse feelings, emotions and opinions bound by questionable reactions between them intensify the topic of discussion. The conversation starts to heat up after the girl places her judgment on the hills that provided a picturesque scene from where they were sitting. The setting of the story is outside a public bar where they have just arrived to buy drinks. They sit at a table in the shade, outside the building and their chat commenced with the girl asking what they should drink.
The protagonist of this story is the girl since the largest part of the story is about something that the man implores her to do. In fact she is the one who starts the conversation, “What should we drink?”(Hemingway 1). She is determined, cowardly, strong and arrogant, as these are some of the traits protagonists possess. Her phrase, “All right. I was trying. I said the mountains looked like white elephants. Wasn’t that bright?” shows these traits (2). She realizes she has offended the man in her previous utterances, and then tries to cover up the situation by being cowardly and skillfully arrogant. She is determined to change the topic of discussion. Noticeably, the man is the antagonist since he has a goal (to make the girl do what she wants), motivation (if the girl does it, they will be greatly in love) and conflict (what he wants the girl to do). This creates a corridor of conflicting moments and a tag of war concerning whether the girl should follow the man’s orders, or stick to her stubbornness.
The girl has the opportunity to change, but she refutes the man’s vehement pestering. She turns down every opportunity that the man comes up with to convince her. This is evident with different opinions, strategies and twists in the story that shows how much the man attempts to convince her. Even after she tricks him to keep his mouth shut and the man talks back after a while, she threatens to scream. As the protagonist, she is also cunning in her endeavor to bury the issue. After the man says, “I’d do anything for you.” She tricks him with the same question and says, “Would you please please please please please please please stop talking,” to shut him down (4).
The idea that the author was attempting to pass across might be abortion. The man persuades the girl to go for “an awfully simple operation” which would make them perfectly fine, according to the man. He convinces her that they are unhappy because of the girl’s pregnancy. This is evident when the man says, “Of course it does. But I don’t want anybody but you. I don’t want anyone else. And I know it’s perfectly simple.” The girl protests by saying, “No, it isn’t. And once they take it away, you never get it back.” (4)
In conclusion, the protagonist wins all the time. The man stops the argument and prepares for their take off by train. The girl’s way of tackling the man with his solutions to the problem overwhelms the inferior judgments that the man had over the situation. Even though it is not clear that the man has agreed to the girl’s refusal to do what he wanted, the day is eventually safe for both of them. Protagonist always leaves a lasting effect on antagonist, in such a manner that any upcoming conflicts would probably be avoided in favor of the protagonist.