Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway

why has hemingway provided so little information about the past lives and circumstances of the characters? what qualities of the dialogue make up for the lack of descriptions of gestures, appearance and other identifying signs?

hills like white elephants

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“Hills Like White Elephants” centers on a couple’s verbal duel over, as strongly implied by the text and as widely believed by many scholars, whether the girl will have an abortion of her partner’s child. Hemingway deliberately keeps the characters vague because he is more interested about the interplay between the sexes. As the story progresses, the power shifts back and forth in the verbal tug-of-war, and at the end, though it is a topic of fierce debate among Hemingway scholars, it seems that Jig has both gained the upper hand and made her decision. Fleshing the characters' past would take away from the power plays happening in front of us. The dialogue and gestures are exactly what is so brilliant about the story.