People of the Book
A Blog about Book Publishing from a Catholic Perspective

Short Stories about Abortion

February 6th, 2007

Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” is a great short story about abortion. Another is David Foster Wallace’s “Good People,” which was published in last week’s New Yorker. It’s online here. Hurry. New Yorker content doesn’t stay online for long, and this is a story that’s not to be missed.

Neither Wallace nor Hemingway mention the word “abortion” in their stories. The couples in the stories avoid directly naming the terrible reality they are contemplating. They talk around it. They think around it, as most people do. Hemingway, the master of dialogue and spare detail, views his troubled couple from the outside. Wallace does the opposite. His story takes place inside the mind of a young man sitting next to his girlfriend as they wordlessly wonder whether to keep the clinic appointment. The ending is perfect.

Meanwhile, Jody Bottum wants to compile an anthology of pro-life fiction.


  1. Lateefx wrote,

    This is a great analysis - I’ve attached a link that expands on the topic and is contributed by tons of folks. There are links to an in-depth Community College of Virginia round up of several student reports:

    A Literary Analysis for Hills Like White Elephants:

    Comment on October 11, 2007 @ 10:55 pm

  2. sean wrote,

    I don’t think DFW has abortion in focus on his agenda so much as … giving serious Christians an alternative to fundamentalism. I’ve already started refering people to this story as it is such an awesome exposition of the “Lane, truth, and the life” if you ask me. It’s so wonderful how he orchestrates so that the reader and not the narrator “get’s it” with the Lake of Fire business.

    Comment on November 12, 2007 @ 2:27 am

  3. Incest. wrote,



    Trackback on October 8, 2008 @ 9:36 pm

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