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The Symbolism in “The Hills Like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway

Decent Essays
“The Hills Like White Elephants” is a short story that is about an American man and a girl called Jig. They are sitting at a table outside a train station, waiting for a train to Madrid. While they wait they order drinks and have a heated ongoing conversation over whether or not Jig will have an operation that would be of great significance to their relationship. “The Hills Like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway has two important symbols in the story, the hills and the drinks both of which help to give us a better understanding of what is going on between the American and his girl. The story begins with a vivid description of a train station surrounded by hills and fields. This scene tells us a lot about the couple's situation.…show more content…
The girl remarks that she and the American man never do anything together except try new drinks. This can represent that their relationship is boring and mundane which seems to bother the girl. These feelings can reflect that girl may be ready for change and a chance to settle down, unlike the man who doesn't seem interested in changing his carefree ways. She also asks the man permission for a drink and has to rely on him to order the drinks because of her inability to speak Spanish. She appears disappointed that she is so dependent on the man and no matter what her decision may be, their relationship will no longer be the same. After trying the new drink she replies that “Everything tastes like licorice. Especially all the things you’ve waited so long for like absinthe” (Hemingway 655). Another symbolism that Jig is now feeling bittersweet about the decision because she may want to have the baby, but the man's decision is to have the abortion.
At the end of their conversation, both are drinking alone, the girl at the table and the man at the bar which can imply that their relationship my end by them going their separate ways. “The Hills Like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway has many symbolisms throughout the story. Two important symbols, the hills and the drinks give the reader insight into the intentions and emotions the American man and the girl are going through as they are faced with a major
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