Hills Like White Elephants Critical Criticism

Decent Essays

An American in Europe A critical issue in Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” is the emphasis on the lack of communication between the characters. The author attempts to convey the dichotomy between the American and Jig’s mindset. The setting could be seen as a porthole into Hemingway’s philosophy, a distant land being occupied by a brash American man and a silenced American woman. Furthermore, this ideological discord is exemplified by a disillusioned lack of communication between the characters, also the forceful and blunt personality of the American contrasting with the feminine and powerless Jig. In “Hills Like White Elephants” Hemingway uses Jig and her refusal to communicate as a way of demonstrating the American’s powerlessness in Europe. Hemingway uses the setting as a catalyst for the depiction of the idealistic American philosophy. The place is desolate, and only a stopping point before their destination. The train station can be seen as a crossroads, a place where a decision must be made. A life changing decision, one forced onto Jig with an urgency that reflects the setting. The symbolic nature of the train station is further emphasised by Timothy D. O'Brien and his take, “The story’s setting… mirrors the tension between the girl’s discourse and the desire and the man’s” (19). These desires must be met at this crossroads, and are reflected in the idea that Jig is compelled to make up her mind before the next train comes. This symbol of a

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