Abortion In Ernest Hemingway's Hills Like White Elephants

721 Words3 Pages
The short story “Hills Like White Elephants,” by Ernest Hemingway, is about a young couple and the polemic (controversial) issue of abortion. Though the word “abortion” is nowhere in the story, it is doubtlessly understood through Hemingway’s powerful use of two literary elements: setting and symbolism. From the first paragraph the setting immediately introduces the tense atmosphere that will surround the rest of the story. The story takes place in Spain in the late 1920’s. The setting 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…show more content…
The openness and loneliness around the railroad station imply that there is no way to back out of the problem at hand and that the man and the girl must address it now. The heat turns the scene into a virtual teakettle, boiling and screaming under pressure. The landscape that encompasses the station plays a fundamental role in the conflict of the story through its extensive symbolism. When the girl sees the long and white hills she says that “they look like white elephants.” As she observes the white hills she foresees elatedly the birth of her baby – something unique like the uncommon white elephant. The color white symbolizes the innocence and purity of her unborn child. She also admires the rest of the scenery: The girl stood up and walked to the end of the station. Across, on the other side, were the fields of grain and trees along the banks of the Ebro. Far away, beyond the river, were mountains. The shadow of a cloud moved across the field of grain and she saw the river through the

More about Abortion In Ernest Hemingway's Hills Like White Elephants

Open Document