Hills Like White Elephant Analysis Essay

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“Hills Like White Elephants” Tone Analysis
In “Hills Like White Elephants,” Ernest Hemingway conveys an anxious tone through Jig’s internal conflict about her pregnancy and the idea of having an abortion. Jig is caught between following what she believes is best for herself and how to stay in favor with the American whom she appears to be in a serious relationship with. Hemingway depicts Jig’s concerns by contrasting the two sides of the railroad tracks. Jig continually changes where she is looking as she contemplates each side. Her dialogue becomes increasingly irritated and bothered as the conversation progresses and she considers the consequences for each option. Her train of thought becomes so distressed that eventually she just asks
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Hemingway describes the barren side of the railroad where “there was no shade and no trees” (313), to contrast the more fertile land on the opposite side where there “were fields of grain and trees along the banks of the Ebro” (315). The fertile side represents the thoughts that Jig is playing with in her mind about keeping the baby and starting a family with the American. She does not outright suggest that her and the American settle down, in fear that he may not be ready for that and leave her. On the other hand, she clearly does not see having an abortion as something that she is entirely sure of. She sees nothing pleasant about the barren side and yet the best she can do to dissuade the American from the idea of the abortion is to ask him to stop talking. In reference to the barren side of the tracks, Jig states that the distant hills “look like white elephants” (313). A white elephant is a common symbol for a possession that is troublesome and generally unwanted; it can also be something that is difficult to maintain or dispose of. In this case, Jig is referring to the baby that the American seems to want little to do with. The presence of the baby is definitely causing turmoil in their relationship and yet Jig is not exactly ready to give it up, though
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