Relationships In Hills Like White Elephants, By Ernest Hemingway

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Neglecting to acknowledge something one finds unwanted in a relationship, can cause previous issues to remain unsolved, thus linger underneath the surface like an iceberg in the ocean, as it is shown in “Hills Like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway. With the lack of descriptions in general, the description of the train station and the hills that are seen from there catches the attention of the reader. This creates the question; what importance can there be found in the metaphor white elephants and the setting? The first conversation between the American and the woman is when the woman gives an off-hand remark on some hills nearby. According to the woman the hills, “Look like white elephants,” (p 1) which seems rather random at first, but in fact, acts like a pivot to talk about an issue. However, the American responds, “‘I’ve never seen one.” (p 1), which indicates the comparison of the hills and the white elephants are only the tip of the iceberg to the predicaments in the relationship. White elephants can be understood as two things: first, it is a reference to the idiom ‘an elephant in the room’ meaning something is being purposely ignored and later on, it refers to the idiom ‘white elephant’ meaning something unwanted despite its high value. The moment the change occurs is when the woman states, “‘They’re lovely hills... They don’t really look like white elephants…” (p 2) using complimentary words towards the hills to disclaim her previous remark on the hills and
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