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Symbolism In Hills Like White Elephants, By Ernest Hemingway

Decent Essays
Ernest Hemingway, a literary icon of the early twentieth century, challenged the typical lengthy and detailed prose of authors before him by pioneering a stylistic revolution centered around heavy dialogue and minimalistic details. More specifically, “Hemingway used a journalistic style and unadorned prose to capture the everyday lives of men and women caught up in history’s most momentous events,” without wasting pages establishing the setting or background within a work like most authors of the nineteenth century (The Letters… 442). Often, the mood, setting, and emotion within Hemingway’s stories are established through symbolism and constant dialogue. Hemingway expertly implements his unconventional and unique authorial style to convey the disparity in gender communication and perspectives and its effects on relationships in his 1927 short story, Hills Like White Elephants. Hemingway wastes no time establishing the conflict between the girl and the man through symbolism; the title of the story itself implies that there is an unwanted gift, a “white elephant,” in this case referring to Jig’s pregnancy (Hemingway 311). A plethora of symbols within the setting ultimately expose the opposing opinions between Jig and the American on what to do about the baby. The most obvious example of this symbolism is found within the description of the terrain around the train station. On one side of the station there are “brown and dry” hills and “no trees,” representing the barrenness
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