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Hills Like White Elephants Literary Analysis

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Hills Like White Elephants, published in 1927, embodies Hemingway’s style, and explores the issues of responsibility, communication, and unexpected life decisions, and does so in just four short pages. Hemingway drops us off in the middle of a conversation between a boyfriend and girlfriend, in which the couple discusses whether or not to abort their unborn child. The man, known as the American, pressures the girl, known only as Jig, into going through with the abortion, while Jig subtly suggests that she would rather keep the child and settle down. Neither of the characters states anything outright, and our limited perspective leaves it solely up to us to decipher the meaning of the story. Ernest Hemingway uses the symbolic setting and the themes of communication and unpredictability to drive home his belief that life is far from being happy, and rarely conforms to what we expect. Symbolism plays a role within this story, and the majority of the symbolism is found in the setting. The first page of the story describes the setting in vivid detail: a train station nestled in a valley in Spain, flanked by rolling white hills on one side, and by flat, dead land on the other. These details are representative of the crossroads at which Jig and the American find themselves. The physical crossroads of the train station represent the two choices that the characters find themselves between: become parents and settle down, or abort the baby and keep wandering. The dichotomy between
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