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Symbolism In Hills Like White Elephants By Ernest Hemingway

Decent Essays
The short story Hills Like White Elephants by Ernest Hemingway is about a young couple who is trying to make a decision in their life. The woman is named Jig, and the man is referred to as The American. Hemingway uses many symbols to convey the message of undecidedness between the character over a problem. though it is not written the reader can conclude that the tension in the story is based around Jig being pregnant and the American wanting her to have an abortion. The story is set on a train station in Spain between Barcelona and Madrid, and the couple have to decide which train they will board finalizing their decision of aborting the baby or not. Hemingway uses symbolism, like numbers and objects, in his short story Hills Like White Elephants to express the decisions that Jig and the American have to make, which will ultimately alter the future relationship of the couple.

Concrete objects such as hills and trains along with ideas like a white elephant are used to show the hard decision the couple has to make about their future. One of the main symbols in the story is the hills that Jig is looking at through the window. They may represent her belly and her being pregnant. Jig describes the hills as looking the “white elephants” (364) which is also a symbol for something that is unwanted. These two symbols represent both the views of the American and Jig over the child. Jig believes that the pregnancy will turn a page in the couple’s lives just as they would be walking
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