Relationships in a marriage have always been complicated. Every new stage in family life brings up many challenges. Different people with different personalities deal with these challenges in their own way.
Two different couples from ”To Room Nineteen” by Doris Lessing and ”Hills like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway face their problems in a quite contrasting way. Lessing’s couple is a very traditional family. Their marriage started on a very positive note. They got married in their late twenties and had four children. As a family they proved themselves when it came to love, respect and trust. Hemingway’s couple, on the other hand, was a young family that didn’t have time to go through the stages of respect, trust, love and commitment. Nevertheless, they have faced a huge challenge of unexpected pregnancy. Throughout the story they are in a bar in Northern Spain near a train station caught in conversation supposedly about getting abortion.
In both stories readers see couples that were not happy in their relationships, and were looking elsewhere to find contentment. When things get bad in life, it would be natural for people to choose to hang on to a hope. Unfortunately, none of the four characters chooses this path.
In ”To Room Nineteen” at the beginning readers were happy for Lessing’s couple. However, as the story developed, they were able to see a couple that had grown apart from each other “… two tolerably friendly strangers” (The Norton Anthology, 880). This was a slow, but inevitable process. While husband had an affair, his wife was in denial. In her mind it would be wiser and more practical thing to do. As a result Susan found herself not only very lonely, but also useless “…she was alone, and she had no past and no future” (The Norton Anthology, 883). Instead of hanging on to a hope and fighting for her happiness, she did just opposite- she gave up. In her vision, it was probably very right.