Hills Like White Elephant Stylistic Analysis

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Elements of Hills Like White Elephants Hills Like White Elephants, written by Ernest Hemingway, is a short story that follows the conversation between a young couple at a train station. While they sit, waiting for their train, they have a few drinks and discuss the topic of an operation yet keep skirting around the idea. A huge theme that is centered around this story is how poor communication can cause greater issues. Hemingway skillfully wrote this short story in third person objective as a fly on the wall approach. Since the story is written this way, the reader has to guess about how the characters feel not only about one another but themselves as well. This objective point of view from the third person causes readers to not know what…show more content…
The biggest use of symbolism in the story is the idea of elephants. The phrase “the elephant in the room” isn’t actually said in the story but it’s implied since the couple cannot seem to discuss openly with one another a topic that’s creating a strain on their relationship. The symbolism that Hemmingway uses with the girl trying to distract her partner with the talk of the hills is a prime example since although he’s trying to discuss with her the procedure, she’s avoiding the large topic, “the elephant in the room,” by ordering more drinks and talking about the environment around them. The idea of elephants is a universal symbol since it’s commonly known as a way to address a large topic one seems to want to avoid. Another symbol of the story is the stark difference between the two sides of the train station. When the young girl is staring at the dark and barren side of the tracks that have the hills like white elephants, she doesn’t seem too willing to talk much about the couple’s issues and rather avoids them. However, when she gets up and gazes at the other side of the station with trees, fields of grain, and rivers in the mountains, she keeps offering her partner the idea that things can be okay and they can have it all. When the partner drags her back to their seats on the dull side of the station, she seems to lose her fight and just says that she’s okay…show more content…
Although the couple talking to one another is a massive part of the story and what drives it, his word choice is very controlled with general language since he doesn’t give too much information about what’s going on outright. He also uses a very neutral and middle level of diction since it is just two characters going back and forth with each other. Hemmingway also uses a lot of connotations within the story as well since the whole discussion that is occurring has an underlying idea and message behind it that is more suggested than know like the idea of an unknown operation, there being an ‘it’ that being referred to and many more. Overall, Hills Like White Elephants is a deep and complex story that leaves you unsure about the faith of a relationship and characters themselves through a poorly communicated discussion. Hemmingway used many elements of fiction to allow readers to think deeper into the story than what’s on the
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