Symbolism In Hills Like White Elephants

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The story “Hills Like White Elephants” is a short story in which a man and his girlfriend have a discussion at while waiting for a train at the station. Though it is not specifically mentioned, one can conclude that discussion is about getting an abortion. It is obvious that the man wants it more than his girlfriend, which leads to the conflict of the story. They end up boarding the train without making the decision. It is worth noting that this short story has a degree of vagueness to it that most stories do not have. The author gives people just barely enough details and dialogue for readers put together what’s going on. The author uses dialogue, characterization, and symbolism to display the theme of “choices” throughout the story. The way…show more content…
There is the symbolism of elephants, which could refer to the saying “the elephant in the room”. That saying means there is an obvious situation that no one wants to discuss. This could be further supported by the girl’s reluctance to discuss the topic or make a choice. She tries the end the conversation multiple times by saying things like “Can’t we maybe stop talking?” and “Would you please please please please please please please stop talking?” (Hemingway 185). That would explain the vagueness of the story and, why no choices are made. The one that stands out the most is the train station. It symbolizes the idiom “at a crossroads”. That means that one is in a situation where a choice has to be made. Since most of the story revolves around the idea of making a choice, it is a big indicator of the theme. There are many different themes in “Hills Like White Elephants”. However, the way Hemingway manipulated dialogue, characters, and symbols within the story helps define the main one of choice. Despite the lack of important choices being made by the man and woman, the idea of choices still resonates. Mainly because whole story revolves around a choice being made. Though it is not specified, it’s obvious that they have to come to a decision soon. There is a lot left out in this story. Nevertheless, even when Hemingway says so little, he means so
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