"Jig" is a name that deserves a longer story

{ Tuesday, November 20, 2007 }

"Hills Like White Elephants," by Ernest Hemingway, 1927

Why do I like this when I don't like so many other short stories?

I like the parts about the beer. I like how the parts about the beer anchor the people. I like how the beer is real and the baby isn't. The beer is real in exactly the way the baby isn't.

What I dislike about lots of stories is that they force me to watch an epiphany: some stark, defining moment that changes a character. Epiphanies don't happen that often in life. So, with "epiphany stories," I can't stand to read more than one at a time. Two and I'm irritated, because it seems unreal.

"Hills Like White Elephants," because we are used to the grand epiphany moment, might not seem big enough. But it made me want something for these people. It made me want Jig to be okay, to find out what okay is and get it.

That's plenty for a short story to accomplish. The idea: I can find out what okay is and get it.

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