The settings authors use for their stories play an important part in short stories by allowing the authors to express various moods, give insights into the thoughts of their characters, and use symbolism through contrasts in the settings. This essay will look at how the settings of "Hills Like White Elephants" and "Sonny's Blues" were used to reflect the characters' conflicts and emotions while also adding atmosphere and depth to the stories. The short story "Hills Like White Elephants," written by Ernest Hemingway, explores the complexities of human connections. This story follows a couple, Jig and "the American," as they face a major life decision: whether or not to have an abortion, which they refer to as an "operation" (Hemingway 701).
So he sketched out a scene titled "Hills Like White Elephants." Throughout the story, the American behaves according to Hemingway’s rigid conception of masculinity. Hemingway portrays the American as a rugged man’s man—knowledgeable, worldly, and always in control of himself and the situation at hand. Even when vexed or confused, he maintains his cool and feigns indifference, such as when he tells the girl he doesn’t care whether she has the operation. He initially avoids discussion of their problems, but when pressured, he tackles them head on by oversimplifying the operation and relentlessly pushing her to have it.
In the short story, “Hills Like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway, Hemingway from the start makes us draw out our own conclusions and does not give us a great deal of information. For example, we are only told about two characters, an American man and a girl who are waiting for their train to arrive. Other than this, we are not told what relationship the characters share together or where their final destination is. The protagonist who is referred to as “the girl” is in the middle of a tragic situation which can take a turn for the best or the worst and her partner, the “American man” is not helping but making the situation more heated.
However this manipulation is unintentional as she doesn’t say that she will not go through with the surgery which is what the man has given her the opportunity to say. As the story continues, Jig realizes that the American man is set on her having the abortion; and therefore gives up on the idea of starting a family. The man says “We can go everywhere.” To which Jig replies “No, we can’t. It isn’t ours anymore.”
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.
If taken literally, Hemingway’s story is one in which very little happens. The story takes place in a train station in Spain where a couple argue about a vague event over drinks. From the very start of the short story, there is an overbearing uneasiness felt in the text as the unnamed male and the girl, Jig, hold what seems to be—on the surface—an innocent conversation. By using a limiting third person point of view that consists mostly of dialogue, Hemingway creates an obstacle in the way of understanding as there is no clear insight to what is going on inside of either party’s head. The conflict that the pair seem to be discussing is never named and it becomes the metaphorical elephant in the room much like the white elephants that Jig sees in the mountains.
Comparison/Contrast Essay 1 “Good People” and “Hills Like White Elephants” are stories that portray young couples facing an unwanted pregnancy and the decision of whether to terminate the pregnancy or keep the child. Jig in “Hills Like White Elephants”, is headstrong and knows what she wants to do about the pregnancy, will have the baby and the American will likely stay with Jig. Despite the decision she make concerning the pregnancy, his feelings of affection are genuine for her and the child. In the story “Good People” Sheri will likely terminate the pregnancy despite her religious convictions.
This tells us that his point of view is subjective by writing about each character equally by giving their thoughts about each other's choices and letting their actions speak louder than their words. Furthermore, this shows the theme of the not appreciating what's in front of you because the American already made up his decision by his actions to move the luggage to the train station meanwhile Jig sat by herself trying to make her decision of what to
If we observe their relationship, it seems like it is not going too well either. With attention to Jig’s view and the man’s view we can say that they both have a different attitude towards the abortion and their relationship. Remarkably, the girl’s thoughts change through their conversation. Renner divides the stages of the decision-making process into four – what he calls – ‘movements’. (28)
They each bring up different points as to why throughout the story. In Earnest Hemingway’s short story Hills like White Elephants written in 1927 he uses the hills themselves, the scenery that the couple is surrounded by, and the beaded curtain as symbols to describe the situation that the couple faces. In this short story, the hills that the train station overlook are compared to white elephants. This is because the conversation Jig is wanting to have with the American consists of whether or not to keep the
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. Jig is a Spanish pregnant girl, and she is about to have an abortion. She seems young because she is depending on a careless man.
If analyzed in a more generic view, the short story can be used to show how a male and female stereotypically understand a subject. The American speaks more literal and materialistic as Jig is seen to speak in a more figurative and abstract manner. Ernest Hemingway’s use of symbolism gives the reader a more visual effect to the conflict between the man and the girl as well as the idea of their inner thoughts. The white rounded hills, the beads on the curtain hanging from the bar’s doorframe, and the cool shade and blazing light all represent different aspects of the two choices that the American and the girl have to decide on, just like the railroad tracks on either side of the
Symbolism plays a fundamental role in Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants”. The different symbols used throughout the story are capable of subtly conveying intricate concepts to the readers of this recognized literary work. It then becomes essential for them to detect all these symbols, and discern the deep meanings which they hold in order to truly grasp the story’s message which the author intended to transmit. Without this insight, many first-time readers may view the story as a simple and casual dialog between two people, a man and a woman, waiting for a train from Barcelona to Madrid. Thus, they become unaware of the intense conflict the two main characters are actually facing, haunted by the difficult decision of terminating a pregnancy
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.
A Very Short Story Ernest Hemingway is considered one of the most significant fiction writers of the 20th century. He is famous for his specific style of writing, the so called iceberg theory, which is clearly seen in his short stories and novels. Undoubtedly the unique thing that makes his short stories so special is the fact that after you read them you get the main idea but there are many things that remain unspoken or have a deeper meaning. You have to reread the text and use your imagination to get the whole picture of the text.