“Mr. and Mrs. Elliot” by Ernest Hemingway is a short story structured around a couple’s efforts to conceive a child. Because they get bored of each other soon, the Elliots decide to coexist without much communication and dismiss the thought of having a baby. The story has a traditional plot structure, with an exposition, a rising action, a climax, a falling action, and a resolution.




The exposition of the story introduces readers to the main characters and the intrigue: the Elliots have been trying to have a baby for quite some time:

Mr. and Mrs. Elliot tried very hard to have a baby. They tried as often as Mrs. Elliot could stand it. They tried in Boston after they were married and they tried coming over on the boat. They did not try very often on the boat because Mrs. Elliot was quite sick. (ll. 1-4)



The rising action presents the beginning of Mr. and Mrs. Elliot’s relationship, which was based on mutual admiration and which continued with marriage. Despite the high expectations, married life – including the physical part – turns out to be disappointing:

They spent the night of the day they were married in a Boston hotel. They were both disappointed but finally Cornelia went to sleep. Hubert could not sleep and several times went out and walked up and down the corridor of the hotel in his new Jaeger bathrobe that he had bought for his wedding trip. (ll. 51-55)



The falling action is short and overlaps with the resolution. The Elliots seem to have renounced to try to conceive...


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