Critical Analysis Of Hills Like White Elephants

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The topic of "Hills Like White Elephants" by Ernest Hemingway continues to be a hot button issue, even 90 years after the story's publication. Though not as scandalous as it must have been in 1927, it remains the subject of great debate. Two lovers are awaiting a train that will whisk them away to Madrid for the purpose of an abortion. Even though the decision was made before arriving at the station, they continue to debate whether she will go through with it. The American's persuasive dialogue makes it apparent that he wants Jig to have the abortion and is concerned that she will change her mind; however she is more concerned with the fate of her relationship with the man and the effects an abortion may have on her. The first indication of a division between the lovers is the description of the setting where Hemingway writes "...the station was between two lines of rails in the sun" (2-3), the rail lines representing the two people and the station the division between them. Upon arriving, they immediately orders two beers. The lovers order several alcoholic drinks during their short 40 minute wait at the station, presumably to ease the tension and calm the anxiety. Once the couple is settled with their drinks, Jig makes an observation about their view of the hills, saying "'They look like white elephants,'" (9) to which the American responds "'I've never seen one,'" (10). Here is where the proverbial can of worms is opened. The woman made a simple observation when she

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