Essay about Hills Like White Elephants, by Ernest Hemingway

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Hills Like White Elephants The Latin saying, mutatis mutandi, translates into "everything affects everything else," and this especially applies to the characterization used in Ernest Hemingway’s "Hills Like White Elephants." Through close examination, it is evident that the character of Jig is revealed not only through her own actions, but also through the contrasting descriptions of her surrounding environment and her subtle mannerisms. By strategically scattering these faint clues to Jig’s persona though out the story, Hemingway forces the reader to overcome common stereotypes and examine ambiguous dialogue before being able to discover the round, dynamic character that is Jig.

Initially, Jig’s character is referred to as
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Jig’s rounded character is revealed only when her statements are closely analyzed and placed into context. When reading the story, it is easy to miss the obvious sarcasm in statements such as "…And afterward they were all so happy" (344) due to the skillful way that Hemingway hides Jig’s true inner self.

Jig’s inner struggle is mirrored and indirectly shared with us through her contrasting environment and dialogue. The story introduces itself with the gloomy description "The hills across the valley of the Ebro were long and white. On this side there was no shade and no trees… " (343) which clearly clashes with the fertile description of the opposite side, described as "…fields of grain and trees along the banks of the Ebro. Far away, beyond the river, were mountains." (345) Other contrasts are apparent though out the narrative, such as Jig’s association with light as opposed to the American’s relationship to darkness. This association is evident in Jig’s recognition of her environment, noting that the hills were "…white in the sun…" (343), and is further developed through minute details like "The girl smiled brightly at the woman…" (346) These contrasts act as an important bridge between the superficial two-dimensional girl and the complex rounded woman that we can identify with.

Hemingway purposely refrains from giving the characters proper names, allowing them to be symbols of many couples in the same situation. This ambiguous
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