`` Hills Like White Elephants `` By Ernest Hemingway

1681 WordsApr 11, 20177 Pages
In literature, authors use a certain image or collection of images in order to produce a particular effect, eliciting a response from the reader’s senses. Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” utilizes the imagery of the train station in order to produce the effect of transition between the characters, both in terms of physical location and emotional mindset. Much like Hemingway, James Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues” takes a similar approach, using Sonny’s passion for music to expose his deepest insecurities. Though their approaches are different, both authors use imagery to create a pathway to the character’s internal thoughts. Often, when people think of the functions of trains, they simply view them as modes of transportation. In…show more content…
This imagery of the train station is brought about by more than the actual setting, but rather is corroborated by the presence of bags “against the wall of the station. There were labels on the them from all the hotels where they had spent nights” (Hemingway 592). Hemingway’s choice to mention Jig’s bags is used to further extend the effect of transition, as the bags are covered in stickers, portraying a map of the various places that the couple have been together, both physically visited as well as the many emotional attachments that have grown between the two along their journey. An employee emerges, and offers to move Jig’s bags to the end of the train tracks for her as the train nears. Hemingway’s choice to have Jig’s belongings move towards an end of the tracks creates the effect of another man entering Jig’s life in order to bring her, and her belongings, closer to the decision of what track to choose. As the clock ticks down for the couple’s time at the bar, the ultimatum draws inevitably near. The use of the suitcase is crucial in portraying the life that Jig would have to pack up and move on with, leaving the American man, or carrying out with the operation. Written in 1927, Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” “redefined the possibilities of the short story” (Charters 1700). It has been said that Hemingway was influential in reworking the genre of short
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