White Elephants Symbolism

Decent Essays
The short story, “Hills like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway is about a young couple travelling in Spain, who are arguing over a life changing and burdening situation they have found themselves in. The unnamed man is identified as the American, while the women has the nickname of Jig. It is never actually discussed what exactly they are arguing over, but it is implied that they are discussing the possibility of an abortion. Hemingway uses setting and symbolism to convey the discussion of abortion and leads the readers to conclude for themselves.
Hemingway’s description of the setting depicts a beautifully tense atmosphere near the Ebro River in Spain, located between Madrid and Barcelona. The beginning of the story is described as follows:
The hills across the valley of the Ebro were long and white. On this side there was no shade and no trees and the station was between two lines of rails in the sun. […] The American and the girl with him sat at a table in the shade, outside the building. It was very hot and the express from Barcelona would come in forty minutes. It stopped at this junction for two minutes and went to Madrid (Hemingway, 1927, p. 1)
The mention of the hills being white represents innocence and purity. This specific description gives the reader the impression that purity and innocence plays a large part in the story, implying the innocence and purity of an unborn child. There are no trees nor shade near the two lines of rails which sets the
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