Hills Like White Elephant Symbolism Essay

480 Words2 Pages
Ernest Hemingway’s short story “Hills Like White Elephants” is about this couple at a train station in Spain needing to make a decision about an abortion. In this short story, there are a number of symbols to look at, like the setting, the drinks, the train, and the white elephant. This story takes place at a train station in Spain. The train station is in the middle of two fields. The field on the right “were fields of grain and trees. . . 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 trees”(P.313). The field on the left, however, is the opposite, “on this side there was no shade and no trees”(p.311). These two fields symbolize life and death, life being the right side and death being the left side. This also symbolizes the decision they are making about the baby. If they choose to have the abortion, which will kill him or have the baby and bring a new life into the world. Furthermore, at the train station the couple orders beer. Here the beer symbolizes Jig wanting a different lifestyle, especially when she says, “Everything tastes like licorice. Especially all the things you’ve waited so long for, like absinthe”(p.312). The couple is always traveling, she has become really bored with it and the beer has become a symbol to this routine: “That’s all we do isn’t…show more content…
In the beginning of the story she looks at the hills and says, “They look like white elephants”(p.312). A white elephant is an unwanted gift, or a gift nobody wants. By her comment we see that she does not want the baby, the baby being the white elephant. Throughout their conversation, she withdraws her comment and says, “they’re lovely hills. . . They don’t really look like white elephants”(p.312). This gives us a hint that maybe her maternal instincts kicked in and she is having second thoughts about the
Open Document