Literary Analysis Of Hills Like White Elephants

Decent Essays

The title “Hills Like White Elephants” suggests an exotic, mystical setting. The story is set in post World War One Spain in the “valley of the Ebro”(1). A train station sits inconspicuously in the middle of two tracks. One side of the rail is barren while the other is abundant with vegetation. The author introduces the two main characters as “the American and the girl” (1) as if the woman is a secondary with no need for an identity. However, it is later revealed that her name (or nickname) is Jig. The author starts a timer: the characters’ train “comes in forty minutes”(1).The couple sip on their drinks as they wait, discussing an unspecified operation. The sunny setting conflicts with the tension felt between the couple. It is alluded that the American is an expatriate while the girl is his romantic companion. They have been traveling together for a while now, living in a hedonistic lifestyle. This is evident by the labels “from all the hotels where they had spent nights”(98). However, they no longer feel the thrill of adventure anymore. The girl complains that “‘everything tastes like licorice’”(27). For them, even discovering unfamiliar places and trying new things has become boring. They have reached a turning point in their lives and wish that “things [were] like they were”(58) before. The girl is especially detached, both symbolically and in real life. This is demonstrated when she tries to order an Anis del Toro. She cannot speak Spanish so she communicates her

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