“Hills Like White Elephants”, by Ernest Hemingway, is a short story published in 1927 that takes place in a train station in Spain with a man and a woman discussing an operation. Most of the story is simply dialogue between the two characters, the American and Jig. This couple is at a critical point in their lives when they must decide whether or not to have an abortion. Certain themes arise from this story such as choices and consequences, doubt and ambiguity, and how men and women relate. Hemingway also uses many examples of symbolism in “Hills Like White Elephants”, including descriptions of the surrounding scenery, the hills themselves, and the station where the action takes place.
What is the purpose of the trip the two travelers are taking? (The narrator never tells us, but the careful reader can deduce this with relative certainty.)
Ernest Hemingway, the author of “Hills like White Elephants” will leave his readers guessing due to his vague information put into his short story, ¨Hills like White Elephants¨. The understanding of figurative language, sensory details, and the use inferencing skills are needed to interpret what the author is trying to get across. If the short story is analyzed carefully the reader will understand that the couple in the story are deciding whether or not to have an abortion. Although “abortion” is never blatantly said it is shown through prolific figurative language. Symbolism, simile, and conflict are all prominent examples of figurative language throughout Hemingway's “Hills like White Elephant”.
“Hills Like White Elephants” tells a story of a man and woman sitting at station waiting on a train to take them to Madrid. The story is told from the narrator’s point of view. There are two main characters. The man is referred to as the American and the woman is called Jig. The man is the antagonist and the protagonist is Jig. The story is more about Jig and her current situation. There is very little information given about the characters but the reader is told that Jig is going to Madrid to have an operation but only hints about the type of operation. The reader is led to believe Jig is going to have an abortion. In the short story “Hills like White Elephants”, the author Ernest Hemingway portrays “Jig”, the protagonist as a mixture
In this story, the white elephant is the pregnancy that the girl dealing with. Thinking as a psychologist one may as if Hemingway experienced a similar problem like this in his own life? Hilary K. Justice says, “These open questions seem rather disparate at first glance, but Hilary K. Justice has taken a significant step toward unifying, them by following what she calls the "signpost `To Biography'" (30)--the story's dedicatory inscription--and pointing out that Hemingway used abortion as a metaphor for threats to his relationship with his second wife.”(Wyche) He never compares the hill to an elephant specifically by saying that “the hills look like white elephants,” however he says “hills like white elephants.”(Link) In the short story Hills like White Elephants, repetition, the train station, landscape and the white elephant are more than symbols it helps define the scenery and importance consequences that come with decision
Ernest Hemingway penned a short story titled, “Hills Like White Elephants.” The story takes place at a train station in Spain and depicts a troublesome dilemma for the two main characters. The story begins with the characters casually discussing what kind of beer to partake in; the tone quickly shifts when the man mentions a surgery to his female friend, Jig. The reader is left to infer that the two characters are discussing an abortion. Ernest Hemingway uses symbolism throughout the story so the reader can delve into a deeper meaning without the ensnarement of excessive emotion. Throughout the story, Hemingway uses several examples of symbolism to depict Jig’s inner struggle with the decision she is faced to make.
Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephant” is about a conversation between American man and his girlfriend at a train station during their transit to Madrid. While the author does not specify the type of surgery the girl is headed to, but with the great use of euphuism, Hemingway hints towards the operation being an abortion. Although the idea of the story is about couple’s conversation, the reader can perceive that neither truly communicates and can sense the rift between them.
A more significant literary element that the author uses is symbolism, which plays a big role in Hemingway’s story. As mentioned previously, one of them are the sides of the hills which represent life and death. Another form of symbolism found in the story is written in the title, “Hills like white elephants.” The man and girl’s conversation basically starts when the girl mentions that the hills look like white elephants. This could represent the idea of abortion. It’s referenced as an elephant like in the common saying “ the elephant in the room” which makes the topic of abortion a big, obvious topic that the couple has to talk about, but tries to avoid by drinking beer (5). As the girl observes the hills more, she realizes that they don’t really look like white elephants, so not everything is what you perceive it to be at first glance. Thereafter, she sees the two sides of the hills and realizes that having the baby wouldn’t be so bad, as she admires the fertile fields of grains and trees on one side. Naturally, the man who wants her to have the abortion says “It really an awfully simple operation,” but the girl realizes that it is not that simple (6). In addition, the man says that they could have everything if she has the abortion, however the girl argues that they cannot, because she can never take back the baby that she will lose if she undergoes the operation. To specify, she
In “Hills like White Elephants”, Ernest Hemingway inaugurates themes of tension, isolation and subtle hostility in the reader, by presenting us to a couple, “in the midst of a terse, barbed” dialogue, dancing around the contentious topic of abortion. As they “Jig” around the issue at hand, we learn that the girl is expecting a child, and the man, without directly stating it, wants her to have an abortion. Throughout their aggressive banter we discover plenty about their mannerisms and character, all the while, much concerning the future of their rocky relationship relics in uncertainty. By the end of the short story it’s unclear to us whether or not a decision has been reached, or
Hills Like White Elephants, is a short story written by Ernest Hemingway about a couple on a train talking about a procedure, which has been understood as an abortion. The words used in this short story paints vivid picture of the situation and the people involved.
“Hills Like White Elephants” displays the differences in how a man and a woman may view pregnancy and abortion. Jig, a woman, sees pregnancy as a beautiful aspect in life. Hemingway uses symbolism in the couple’s conversation to imply the woman’s pregnancy. The woman refers to the nearby hills on the train platform as elephants; “They look like white elephants”. She compares the hills to her own situation, pregnancy; “They’re lovely hills. They don’t really look like white elephants. I just meant the coloring of their skin through the trees.”
Literary Analysis of “Hills like White Elephants” The short story “Hills like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway is about a couple at a difficult turning point in their relationship. While at the train station in Spain there is clear disagreement about an “operation” that the man wants the girl to have. The story spells out that the girl wants to do whatever will make him happy.
In the short story by Ernest Hemingway, "Hills Like White Elephants," a couple is delayed at a train station en route to Madrid and is observed in conflict over the girl's impending abortion. In his writing, Hemingway does not offer any commentary through a specific character's point of view, nor, in the storytelling, does he offer his explicit opinions on how to feel or think about the issues that emerge. The narrative seems to be purely objective, somewhat like a newspaper or journal article, and in true Hemingway form the story ends abruptly, without the couple's conflict clearly being resolved. The ambiguity of the ending has been a subject of much debate; however, the impact of what is not said in words can be gleaned through the
Ernest Miller Hemingway is known for his unique style and theories of writing, especially the iceberg theory. In the Death of the Afternoon, Hemingway says that “The dignity of movement of an ice-berg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water. A writer who omits things because he does not know them only makes hollow places in his writing.” (92) Simple words, vivid images, rich emotions and deep thoughts are the four basic elements of the iceberg theory. Talk about how these stories illustrate four elements of theory. In both short stories, Hemingway describes scenery and characters with simple words directly to give readers a vivid image. Under this sketch, readers can know characters’ emotion and get the theme through their imagination and analysis.
Relationships can be difficult when two people have an opposing stance on a controversial topic such as abortion. Men, in their self-interest, perceive this option as an easy way out, in which they can have all the pleasure and none of the consequences. However, for a woman an abortion causes both physical and emotional pain which a man could never understand. Thus, making this one of the utmost difficult issues a girl may need to face in her life. In Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants,” there are two Americans traveling in Spain. The setting of the scene is a bar located near the train station where the man and the girl discuss this life altering operation, as they await the arrival of the train to Madrid. Throughout the story the man is persuasive, as he attempts to convince the girl to have the operation, while at the same time, the girl expresses her reluctance and remains unconvinced that an abortion is the answer to their problems. Abortion remains as controversial today as it was when Ernest Hemingway wrote “Hills Like White Elephants”. Although Hemingway never used the word abortion in his story, he found ways to evoke emotions of sympathy for the girl and disdain for the man through his creative use of symbolism, setting, and characters in the short story.