This essay situates Ernest Hemingway’s iconic “Hills Like White Elephants” as a short story about drinking. From this perspective, Hemingway’s story enables readers to experience a personal and deeply felt emotional engagement with the characters, the scene, and the situation. Moreover, his technique enlists readers as “drinking buddies” and provides an entrée into the culture of alcohol. Despite the macho image that Hemingway himself helped construct and deploy, his work invites women into the scene and, indeed, centralizes a key figure often overlooked in the history of modern American fiction criticism: the drinking woman.

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