Ernest Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants" Ernest Hemingway's short story "Hills Like White Elephants" relies on symbolism to carry the theme of either choosing to live selfishly and dealing with the results, or choosing a more difficult and selfless path and reveling in the rewards. The symbolic materials and the symbolic characters aid the reader's understanding of the subtle theme of this story. The hills symbolize two different decisions that the pregnant girl in our story is faced with. Both hills are completely opposite of each other, and each "hill" or decision has a consequence that is just as different as the appearance of the hills.
The Complex Relationship between the American and Jig in Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants”
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 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.
Women and men have rarely ever been able to wholeheartedly agree upon something, especially something as significant as an unwanted pregnancy. “Hills Like White Elephants” centers around an unwanted pregnancy and how a young couple is talking about it and handing it. While the mention of pregnancy or abortion is never actually said, it can be inferred through their conversations and simple clues Hemingway includes such as, “It’s really an awfully simple operation, Jig” (Hemingway) (Link). The man in this relationship, the American, continues to reassure the woman, Jig, that the “operation” is simple and tons of people have it done. He also continues to repeat “how simple” it is. Jig
Ernest Hemmingway uses time, place, and symbolism in "Hills like White Elephants" to intensify the central dilemma in a story about a man and a woman deciding on whether to go through with an abortion. Although a literal reading of the title may not seem to have any relation to the story, the title is rich in implications. Critics suggest that "Hills" refers to the shape of a woman's stomach when pregnant, and Webster's 21st Century Dictionary defines white elephant as: "[An] awkward, useless possession." The term is also defined in Webster's as an item that is worthless to some but priceless to others. According to Victor Lindsey, the child in the story is a white elephant in the view of the man, who is trying to convince the girl to
In the story, "Hills like White Elephants" written by Ernest Hemingway, the main character Jig faces a life changing event, abortion. The struggles with the complications of abortion concern and desire Jig to want to keep the baby. Bringing a new life into the world is a long time commitment and it is something Jig feels she can treasure forever. However, her companion attempted to persuade her in another direction, to proceed with the abortion. As naïve as he is, he feels his persuasion can overcome Jig's desires. Jig is a sarcastic yet reserved woman, who desires to bring a new life into the world, even if her companion does not approve; she knows what is best.
In Ernest Hemingway's “Hills Like White Elephants”, the use of imagery and symbolism in the landscape of surrounding Ebro Valley, as well as the use of language and tone, shape our understanding of the conflict between the two main characters. The man referred to only by “The American”, is trying to convince Jig to get an abortion. Though the word (abortion) is never stated directly in the entirety of the story, it is conveyed by the use of symbolism and imagery in the surrounding landscape. Furthermore, we can conclude that the topic at hand will come to a final and abrupt solution that Jig will, in fact, get the abortion due to her tone and language at the end of the story.
The American is dishonest making her feel as if their relationship is before anything else. He feigns indifference telling Jig that he doesn't care whether she has it or not. Even though he is relentlessly pushing her to do it by oversimplifying it"...if you don't want to you don't have to. I wouldn't have you do it if you
In a well-written short story, different literary elements and terms are incorporated into the story by the author. Ernest Hemingway frequently uses various literary elements in his writing to entice the reader and enhance each piece that he writes. In Hills Like White Elephants, Hemingway uses symbols to teach the reader certain things that one may encounter during daily life. Symbolism may be defined as relating to, using, or proceeding by means of symbols (Princeton). The use of symbols in Hills Like White Elephants is utterly important to the plot line and to the fundamental meaning of the story. Through this use of symbolism, the reader can begin to reveal the hidden themes in this short story.
Every day people make decisions that affect their future lives. What makes a right decision? What may be right to some may be wrong to others. Right and wrong decisions are objective and vary among each individual. “Hills Like White Elephants,” by Ernest Hemingway, portrays the idea of decision making
She doesn’t know what she wants until the American subliminally decides for her. In the beginning of the story the girl says that the hills look like white elephants. She then proceeds to take it back after the man say’s that they don’t. A lot of people love the idea of a baby. Not everyone takes into account that they will have to sacrifice and provide for this child. White elephant is merely the unborn child that they speak of. She at first thinks that they are beautiful like the mountains, but not quite what they want. “the elephant in the room” is a saying for an unmistakable obstacle. The two of them are sitting down, trying new drinks, drinking old drinks, and doing anything the can to pass time. Yet it seems as though their minds are in different places. It is very seldom that the two of them of ever catch eye contact. A baby is something that is an obstacle for the American. The baby is something that he does not want. The Girl changes her stance and opinion on what she wants, only to please the American and what he wants. When the spanish waitress (the woman) is talking to the girl, the American has to tell her what the woman is saying. This is another way of demonstrating the dependency that the girls has on the
Hemingway's Hills Like White Elephants Everyday people make decisions that affect their future lives. Do people make the right decisions? What makes a decision a right one? What may be right to some, may be wrong to others. There are no right or wrong decisions but those that people choose and believe to be
In Hemingway’s “The Hills like White Elephants” readers are introduced to two seemingly straightforward characters and an “awfully simple” operation; however, beneath the surface, the American and Jig are incredibly complex and their problem is not as simple as it seems. The couple is facing a choice that could potentially change their lives forever, whether or not to go through with an abortion. Their problem and their different takes on the matter reflects the maturity of the characters. While the American is juvenile about their situation, acting as if it’s not that big of deal, Jig realizes the weight of their choice and takes their problem more seriously. In “The Hills like White Elephants,” Jig is the more willing to raise the child and move forward in their life together than the American, making her the more mature character.
1. The "awfully simple operation" mentioned by the man is an abortion. It is not named because at the time and place the story is set in, abortions were illegal. The man down plays it by saying "it's not really an operation at all." He has this attitude toward it because