Literature and the arts are similar, they require us to tap into a deeper level of understand in what we read and see. The words are often an author’s experiences, thoughts, feeling, ideas or convictions. As readers we can sometimes connect with the author, having an emotional reaction to their works. In Ernest Hemingway’s Hills Like White Elephants, the young couple is making a life decision about going through an abortion. I too was faced this decision in my own life at a young age. The question here in these three literature pieces is when we are faced with “life and death” situations what is the morally right thing to do? There are some decisions we can make for ourselves and our own life, and then there are other decisions we are confronted with that effects another person/animal’s life.
This short story by Ernest Hemmingway, is about a man and woman’s difference in opinion with one another. The couple is waiting on a train to arrive at the junction station to take them to Madrid, Spain so that the woman can have an operation. In this story, Hemmingway utilizes symbolism and clues to explain the plot of the story and the conflict the two characters are having. Some of the symbolism in the story is difficult to decipher and this analysis will help understand the story by explaining the symbolism.
“You remind me of the babe. What babe? The babe with the power. What power? The power of voodoo. Who do? You do. Do what? Remind me of the babe.” These were David Bowie's famous words and conversation between a goblin in the movie Labyrinth. Jim Henson uses three different types of irony, which is a commonly used literary device, in the Labyrinth to convey the feeling of surprise in the viewer. How is surprise created in a motion picture? The author uses the literary device of irony. The three main types of irony are verbal, dramatic, and situational irony. Verbal irony is when a character says something but does the opposite. Dramatic irony is when the viewer/reader knows something that the characters don’t. Situational irony is when there is a
Ernest Hemingway among the best of authors of his time, uses a quite different approach to his writings. His style to of writing is often vague and unclear. Hemmingway only gives a bit of content about the story, and the rest is hidden or missing entirely. The audiences are therefore forced to read more carefully and piece together the story. The style of writing he uses is known as the iceberg theory. This minimalistic style of writing is very abundant in his short story Hills like white elephants. In this short story Hemmingway uses many forms of symbolism as clues to illustrate and get a reader to think past the simplicity.
The dialogue in Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” reveals a man’s and a woman’s incongruent conflict on abortion, and the author’s fundamentally feminist position is visible in the portrayal of the woman’s independent choice of whether or not to keep the baby she is carrying.
Throughout the short story (1), “Hills Like White Elephants,” Ernest Hemingway is speaking about a seemingly unwanted pregnancy and a woman’s uneasiness with going through an abortion. However, Hemingway never explicitly says in this work of fiction (2) that it is about abortion or that the woman, Jig, is uncomfortable with it, but uses symbolism (3) to present this to the audience. At the time “Hills like White Elephants” was published, in 1927, abortion was illegal in most places and a very taboo subject that wasn’t to be openly discussed in public. Thus, Hemingway relied greatly upon the use of symbolism to get his message across for this reason as well as the third person narrator (4) that did not give insight into the character’s thoughts within this piece of literature (5) . He uses symbols such as the train station, white hills, the baggage, and the drinks to point towards the underlying internal conflict (6) of Jig’s decision that is being heavily influenced by the American man, who wants Jig to get the abortion.
The concept of the white elephant, in this story, represents the baby or for the girl the decision of what to do with the baby. The term “white
In the story Hills Like White Elephants by Ernest Hemingway, Jig turns to religion when making a life changing decision. Jig, a women, and an American man are at a Spanish train station while waiting for a train to Madrid. The women compares the hills nearby to white elephants, a symbol of overcoming obstacles and connected to fertility and knowledge.
In his story “Hills Like White Elephants”, Ernest Hemingway points out the couple's inability to make the decision: whether to abort the unborn child or not. The reader finds that the story deals with couple's miscommunication through the conversation and the emotions that they express. One can observe that no descriptions are given to the characters, thus, Hemingway creates universal dilemma to focus on the crucial issue. In this way, Hemingway leads the reader to identify with his female character that undergoes a struggle.
Symbols are often placed in the surrounding scenery of a story to give it more than just a visual effect but also an indirect reference to a deeper meaning that can be interpreted. As seen in the title, symbolism is used throughout the short story, “Hills like White Elephants”. Ernest Hemingway’s use of symbolism along with the description of the setting helps to give a visual representation of the conflict between the American and the girl as their conversation continues on the subject of abortion.
A white elephant symbolizes something unwanted. It could also have roots in “elephant in the room”, an English metaphorical idiom for an extremely obvious problem that nobody wants to discuss. As the conversation between the two begins to unfold, the girl makes a comment the surrounding hills “look like white elephants” (Mays, 2014, p. 115). It seems to be a casual and spontaneous remark, but it actually serves as the onset to their discussion about an operation, which is believed to be an abortion. It can be presumed that the girl’s comment about the hills hints to the unborn child which refers to the “something unwanted” which they do not want to discuss. However, when she later makes the remark that the hills “don’t really look like white elephants”; that they looked like white elephants only at first, but actually, “They’re lovely hills.” (Mays, 2014, p.116). This change in views could be a subtle indication to the man that she does not want to terminate her pregnancy, while he ignores it and continues to encourage her for undergoing the medical procedure, making it even more difficult for making a decision. The contrasting landscapes described in the story also suggest that the girl is torn between both landscapes, which represents two contradictory choices. Half-way through the story, the girl stands up and walks to the end of the station, where she sees from afar the “fields of grain
Hills Like White Elephant is a short story by Earnest Hemingway from 1927. The story is talking about a failing relationship between an American man and his girlfriend. This couple is at a critical point on their lives. At the bar in a train station in Spain, the girl, Jig, does not want to end up her pregnancy, but she is going to sacrifice the baby to satisfied him. Because he is critical of the exploitation of his girl’s feelings concerning the continuation of unbalanced relationship. Which is making him more selfish and he does not to have any responsibilities. Also, the reader is also left with a great doubt, as there is no solution.
One of the most notable facets of “Hills Like White Elephants” is the repetition of sentences throughout the short story. With the story running at barely two thousand words, the repetition of these key phrases stands out among the dialogue. The phrase from which the title comes from, “like white elephants”, reoccurs five times within the text. In cultural context, an elephant in the room is an idiom for a burden or an issue at hand that no one wants to discuss. Hemingway takes this metaphor one step further, specifying that the hills are like “white elephants”, which are not only rare and sacred creatures, but also a metaphor in and of themselves to mean a burdensome property that is expensive and difficult to
In Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants”, a conversation takes place involving two people who discuss an crucial decision to make that is unknown to the audience. Jig, the young girl in the discussion seems to be the one who is ultimately going to be the most affective by this decision. While, the American man, whose name is not mentioned, frequently encourages the woman that whatever choice she makes he will stand by her. The ambiguous choice to make is assumed by many scholars to be about an abortion (Cummings) which is referred to in the text by the American as “It’s really an awfully simple operation, Jig” (Hemingway 887). The conversation between these two lovers is clearly dominated by the young girl, Jig, who uses various techniques of psychological manipulation to influence the man and figure out if he is truly loyal to her.
“Hills Like White Elephants” may be a short story about two people just talking in a bar of a station, but behind every word Hemingway uses lies a deeper meaning. It is necessary to point out that omitting further information is something that is typical to Hemingway’s writing style. The reader has to contemplate what the author wants to portray in his story in the first place. Although the author probably had one meaning in mind, the metaphors can be interpreted in many ways. While reading the story, what came up to my mind was whether the author’s personal life had to do something with it or not. What is equally important in this process of thinking is to look at the views the author has on certain aspects, in this case masculinity and womanhood,