Everyone always dreams about the day they find true love that is everlasting and unconditional. But in reality, it is hard achieving this unconditional love because everyone’s perception of “true love” is so different from one another. In order to achieve having a successful relationship in life people must have growth and commitment and also a good understanding of your partner that is crucial in a successful relationship. As well as a power balance and having a mutual respect for each other.
In the stories The Doll House and Hills Like White Elephants, there are a lot of similarities and differences when it comes to their relationships that can be compared to each other. Both of these relationships lack some of the key concepts that were just mentioned in order for those relationships to have been successful. In both relationships Communication is lack clustering, as well as the characters having a mutual understanding of one another. One thing that is interesting that I have noticed is the time that these stories took place, which was during the 19th century and how the women in both of the stories were seen as nothing more than trophies.
Also, how both women in the stories always struggled to try to have a mutual respect from their male counterparts. So, as we know all throughout history women have always struggled to obtain equal rights to those of men. And how during the 19th-century women were seen as nothing more than just pretty little housewives that took care of the children while their husband was away at work to help provide for the family. So, obtaining a mutual amount of respect from their husbands was almost to impossible, due to this social stigma at the time.
It wasn’t until at end of both stories do you really see a difference when it comes to how values like self-respect hold dearer to Nora, then validation from her husband. However, in the story Hills Like White Elephants we were left with a cliffhanger as to what happened after. In the story Hills like White Elephants, we are introduced to a woman and an American man at a train station discussing having an operation done. Hinting part of the title “White Elephants” symbolizing them talking about the elephant in the room.
Much of the story is just dialogue between two characters, talking about what is to be the most critical and life-changing decision that this couple will ever make in their lives. Were they must find common ground on making a choice wither to keep the baby or not and have an abortion. Many themes arise from this story such as choice and consequence, how women and men relate, doubt and ambiguity. There are also many other forms of symbolism in the story other than just the elephant but also the hills themselves.
The hills representing the scenery around them, and also the train station where this discussion is taking place, which the train station representing which direction they are going to take with their decision. As we can tell the story can relate to more modern times and the 19th century as the couple is clearly not married and the women are pregnant. So as the story progresses the American is sure of himself that the abortion will indeed liberate them from any responsibilities that having the baby will obligate them with.
Not only this, but he also believes that it will help the relationship heal itself and thinks that the abortion can prevent unhappiness and more future arguments which might cause the relationship to fail in the future. So, it is clear as day that the American sees the baby as more of a burden than a blessing. However, the women don’t feel the same way about the baby, and the American fails to see as to why. She believes that the relationship will not fail due to the pregnancy, as well as not having any significant drawbacks in the future if they decide to keep the baby.
So, as we can see from the synopsis the relationship in the Hills Like White Elephants lacked understanding, mutual respect, and the American failing to be empathic about her decision to not have the abortion, thinking more about himself than anything else. In the story, The Doll House we are introduced to Nora and Torvalds relationship, from the surface it seems to be a great marriage. However, it is clearer than anything that they have gender roles at play when it comes to how they treat each other and how their marriage runs.
Torvald has a typical role of being a provider, bring in the money, and providing for the family. While Nora’s role is to basically be a gloried trophy wife and to please and entertain Torvald whenever he asks her too. So, as we can already tell this marriage is a generic marriage in the 19th century. Interesting enough there is symbolism in the title of The Dolls House just like in the Hills of White Elephants, what is even more interesting than what it is symbolizing correlates to the main female protagonists just like Hills of White Elephants.
The “Doll” in Doll House represents Nora herself, being treated as a plaything to Torvald and not seen as anything more than that. Torvald is so keen on keeping Nora looking her best that he limits her intake of sweets so that she may keep her figure. As the story progresses we realize that Nora is keeping a secret from Torvald that causing her great regret. Nora knows that if Torvald were to find out about Nora taking money from a money lender over a forgery, Torvald would not be pleased even if it was to save his own life.
As the play goes on the secret leaks out and Nora decides to leave her unhappy marriage. Torvald tries everything in his power to manipulate her to stay trying to convince her that she’s not right in the head to think things through, but Nora stays true with her convictions and leaves with the door slamming behind her. In the final analysis, as we can tell from both stories each relationship lacked communication when it came to a point of contention about their relationship as to what the real problem was, and what there’re true motives were.
In the Hills like White Elephants, the point of contention was the baby itself and the true motive behind it from the American was that he truly wanted nothing to with having it being born. However, he never really came out about it bluntly and just tried swaying the women into agreeing with him, while making it seem like he would be happy with whatever decision she made when that wasn’t truly how he felt.
In the Doll House the point of contention in the marriage was the secret itself and how she was treated the secret that she keeps from her husband even though her intentions were good at heart, she knew that her husband would not tolerate her transgression any longer and will eventually find out what she has been hiding. Even if he didn’t find out she was never happy on how she was treated as a plaything, and never came out about how she felt and pretended that it was ok for the longest until at the end of the play.
How they differ however is that in the story Hills Like Elephants we never truly come to a conclusion as to what happened to the couple and if the problem with the baby was ever resolved. However, it seemed as if the girl was putting the Americans approval above her own self-values. In the Dolls house, this is not the case, Nora comes out about how she feels about her marriage and that she will not tolerate being treated like a Doll in a Dollhouse any longer, putting herself values above her husband’s approval. Leaving him stunned as the door slams realizing that she is now out of his life.