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Male Characters in Hemingway’s Hills Like White Elephants and Chekhov’s The Husband

The narrative Hills like White Elephants by Ernest Hemingway commences in a valley in Spain. The story is about a protagonist, the American, and the antagonist is the girlfriend, Jinn. The narrative revolves around the American man’s suggestion to the girlfriend to have an operation that she later agrees with dispassionately. The American man acts according to the author’s conception of manliness throughout the narrative. The author depicts the American man as one who has control of the situation and himself. He illustrates that even when the man is confused or vexed, he maintains his feigned indifference and coolness, for instance, when he tells the girl that he does not care if she had the operation or not. The American man avoids discussing their issues, but he suggests that the girl have the procedure when there is much pressure. Moreover, he fails to sympathize with the girl by taking a chance to understand her needs as he feels he is more reasonable than Jinn.

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The short story by Chekhov, The Husband, revolves around Shalikov and his wife, Anna. The story’s setting is in a regiment that takes place yearly, where all women anticipate attending to escape torture in their marital homes. Anna is accompanied by her husband and participates in the dancing session. She forgets her stature as a married woman and ignores Shaliko’s, making him angry and spiteful. The author depicts men’s dominance in a society where they have total control over their partners’ lives. Shalikov fails to understand that the wife is unhappy as she longs to walk out of their marriage. Instead, Shalikov tries to control Anna and threatens to embarrass her by causing a scene if she does not agree to leave the event. The narrative displays Shalikov as a jealous, spiteful, and selfish character.

In the story, Shaikov is resentful when he sees his wife enjoying a dance with a soldier; despite his claims of not loving her, he is envious. The story also suggests the women’s position in society as Anna is afraid of her husband embarrassing her. In addition, she chooses to give up on the evening and allows Shalikov to dominate her. Anna decides to submit to a husband who only cares about what he feels and not what she feels. The most crucial person in Shalikov’s life is himself, as he is in control at all times, even if it means him disappointing his wife.

The male character in both narratives demonstrates their masculinity as they try to picture a woman’s image in society. In the story The Hills Like White Elephants, the American man pushes his girlfriend to go through a process she is unwilling to participate in. She is forced to agree not out of her willingness but to maintain their relationship. On The Husband, Anna is also forced to leave the regime she had enjoyed participating in, and she has no right to question her husband’s decision. Anna has to remain submissive to keep her marriage as much she never found much happiness. Thus the Jinn and Anna are forced to agree to the Men’s decision to keep up their relationship; as much as they feel violated, they choose to remain silent.

Therefore it can be concluded that both Men demonstrate the dominance of the male gender in society. They both act accordingly and their decision is more firm than those of the other gender. Happiness to them is being happy but not how their partners feel; it can be depicted that these two characters are selfless. Their needs come first before they understand how their partners will think of the decision they partake in. They reflect how society underestimates women’s ideas as they compromise them as not ideal due to their gender (Becker, 2017). They believe that women should be submissive and act aligned to their husbands’ decisions. Summing it up, the narratives suggest that we are still living in a society where men overrule women, and the gap between the two genders has not yet seized as women are still victimized.

Reference

Becker, A. (2017). Herding and Male Dominance. SSRN Electronic Journal. Web.

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StudyCorgi. "Male Characters in Hemingway’s Hills Like White Elephants and Chekhov’s The Husband." October 4, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/male-characters-in-hemingways-hills-like-white-elephants-and-chekhovs-the-husband/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Male Characters in Hemingway’s Hills Like White Elephants and Chekhov’s The Husband." October 4, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/male-characters-in-hemingways-hills-like-white-elephants-and-chekhovs-the-husband/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Male Characters in Hemingway’s Hills Like White Elephants and Chekhov’s The Husband'. 4 October.

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