Symbols In Hills Like White Elephants, By Ernest Hemingway

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“They look like white elephants” (Hemingway 75) is one of the first lines in Ernest Hemingway’s short story “Hills Like White Elephants”. The story is about a man and a woman sitting waiting for a train, and they are discussing if the woman should get an abortion or not. They had differing opinions on this topic. The reason for the discussion was never said during the story, so the reader had to rely on symbols to determine what was happening. This story is important because he symbol of the white elephant, and the theme of fighting between what someone wants and what they love, as well as the feeling never being able to go back drove the story. Symbols are so important in stories because they can be interpreted so many ways to the reader. The white elephant was a symbol of its own, but the two parts of the whole made the idea of a white elephant more complex. White is the color of purity, innocence, and in some cases, it has been said the true color of mourning. All these take place in “Hills Like White Elephants”. The color of purity and innocence is a contrast to the story as the couple has clearly had sex and are now pregnant with a child. The traditional concept of purity and innocence; being a virgin, has been completely shattered by this. The color white being seen by some as a color of mourning can show to the reader the future mourning that the woman will have to deal with if she goes through with the abortion. Elephants are meant to be a symbol of power and
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