Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway

Closure in "If I Were a Man" and "Hills Like White Elephants": We expect it, but do we want it? 12th Grade

In literary analysis, it is critical for readers to assess whether or not a story contains closure. Renowned author Karyn Kusama argues that stories do not “need closure, “they need a beginning, middle, and end”. Other notable writers such as Roland Barthes argue that in any readable narrative, there are certain “unwritten rules” that readers expect the author to abide to, such as answers for all the questions that were raised throughout the respective narrative. Hence, this particular rule can be labeled as closure. In Porter Abbott The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative, Abbott defends the presence of closure by contrasting the short stories, “If I were a Man” by Perkins Gilman and “Hills like White Elephant” by Ernest Hemingway. Therefore, readers can notice how Gilman chose to have a closure to her narrative, whereas Hemingway does not provide one.

Throughout his novel, Abbott highlights the relationship between closure and conflict, and how they ultimately compliment one another. Closure is dependent on the presence of conflicts in narratives. The conflict, or agon, in Greek tragedy, is the attention-grabbing headline for any plot. The conflict of a narrative can embody numerous aspects of human society, such as values,...

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