The Iceberg Theory In Hills Like White Elephants, By Ernest Hemingway

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In the short story, “Hills Like White Elephants,” Ernest Hemingway uses the Iceberg Theory in a conversation between two people waiting at a train station. Using the Iceberg Theory, Hemingway removes most of the context of the conversion and leaves it to the readers to determine the underlying topic of the story. At first glance, the man and the girl seem to be having normal conversation, but upon further analysis it becomes clear that they are talking about having an abortion and their future with each other. The Iceberg Theory is presented with the author’s use of symbolism and the setting. With the little information that Hemingway gives about the topic of the story, depicting what the story is about is relied heavily on symbolism. In the first sentence of the story, “The hills across the valley of Ebro were long and white,” the hills represent a problem or a obstacle. Starting off the story, Hemingway is trying to convey to the readers that there is a unidentified problem that the two individuals are facing, which their whole conversation is about (Hemingway 119). The problem comes into light when the girl says, “They look like white elephants.” White elephants represent something that is innocent and pure, but is also an unwanted burden. Hemingway uses white elephants to represent the baby in the girl. To the American and the girl, the baby is something that will become a burden to them. If they decide to keep the baby, they would have to give up their current
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