Ernest Hemingway is a well known American author. He is well known for his sparse writing style which consists of short sentences that aren’t very descriptive. In Ernest Hemingway’s story “Hills Like White Elephants” the reader is able to observe the importance of symbols. Ernest Hemingway’s uses symbols to explain the plot and theme of the story. This allows the reader to search for a hidden meaning in the story. This usage of symbols in story falls under the literary criticism of semiotics. Semiotics is the study of signs that can be applied to images, objects and color. By using symbols, it can also help the reader decipher the title and deeper meaning of the story. “Hills Like White Elephants” has many symbolic meanings that help explain how a couple struggles with communicating, the journey ahead and the options they have when making an important decision. …show more content…
Ernest Hemingway’s sparse writing style allows the reader to interpret the true meaning of the story by using the symbolic meaning of objects. This is very important when helping to understand the plot, theme and setting of the story. The objects in the story help entice the reader and make the plot more complex. Since Ernest Hemingway uses a simple writing style, the use of symbols is essential to have a story with depth and meaning. While the story is complex and insightful, the reader is challenged to solve the meaning of the story and use their own interpretations. The alcohol, the train and the scenery are all symbols of the difficulties the couple is currently facing. Ernest Hemingway does an excellent job at using symbols to help tell the story. He chose symbols that helped enhance the plot as well as the conflict which is the pregnancy. “Hills Like White Elephants” has many symbolic meanings that help explain how a couple struggles with communicating, the journey ahead and the options they have when making an important
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The short story “Hills Like White Elephants,” by Ernest Hemingway, is about a young couple and the polemic (controversial) issue of abortion. Though the word “abortion” is nowhere in the story, it is doubtlessly understood through Hemingway’s powerful use of two literary elements: setting and symbolism. From the first paragraph the setting immediately introduces the tense atmosphere that will surround the rest of the story. The story takes place in Spain in the late 1920’s. The setting is described as follows:
According to Roman Jakobson, “In poetic language, in which the sign as such takes on an autonomous value, this sound symbolism becomes an actual factor and creates a sort of accompaniment to the signified literature.” This quote portrays the meaning that symbolism is the poetic and creative use of elements, such as objects and words to portray the critical details and intrinsic meaning in a piece of literature. In essence, think of yourself a pristine art gallery and you are observing an inspiring, captivating, beautiful portrait, and you see an impeccable phoenix. Although, you capture this perspective someone else may interpret the portrayal of hope and immortality. Moreover, the story Pink and Say, authored by Patricia Polacco offers a superfluity of examples of symbolism that completely adds a definition of meaning to the text in terms of the main characters and plot.
Hills Like White Elephants #1 Describe the setting and discuss its importance to the story. •Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” is set in a train station to highlight the fact that the relationship between the American and the girl is at a crossroads. Planted in the middle of a valley, the station isn’t the final destination, but merely a stopping point between Barcelona and Madrid. Night
Symbols are often placed in the surrounding scenery of a story to give it more than just a visual effect but also an indirect reference to a deeper meaning that can be interpreted. As seen in the title, symbolism is used throughout the short story, “Hills like White Elephants”. Ernest Hemingway’s use of symbolism along with the description of the setting helps to give a visual representation of the conflict between the American and the girl as their conversation continues on the subject of abortion. In the near beginning of the story, Jig, the girl, states that the far off hills “look like white elephants” (Charters 475).
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.
Hemingway takes this metaphor one step further, specifying that the hills are like “white elephants”, which are not only rare and sacred creatures, but also a metaphor in and of themselves to mean a burdensome property that is expensive and difficult to
“Hills Like White Elephants” may be a short story about two people just talking in a bar of a station, but behind every word Hemingway uses lies a deeper meaning. It is necessary to point out that omitting further information is something that is typical to Hemingway’s writing style. The reader has to contemplate what the author wants to portray in his story in the first place. Although the author probably had one meaning in mind, the metaphors can be interpreted in many ways. While reading the story, what came up to my mind was whether the author’s personal life had to do something with it or not.
Another literary element Ernest Hemingway uses effectively is symbolism. The obvious symbol in this story is white elephants. At the beginning of the story the woman compares the hills to white elephants. “The girl was looking off at the lines of hills. They were white in the sun and the country was brown and dry,” and “They look like white elephants,” she said.
During the course of the story “Hills Like White Elephants” the author Ernest Hemingway uses symbolism to describe the the main idea of the girl having the “operation.” Hemingway uses the landscape, the white elephant, and the term “elephant in the room” to represent different aspects of the pregnancy and abortion. The landscape in the story represents choosing the abortion or choosing to keep the baby. The setting of the story is at a train station.
In the short story “Hills Like White Elephants,” by Ernest Hemingway, there is a relationship unfolding, a complex relationship difficult to understand. The relationship is revealed by a conversation between a man and a woman, a topic of conversation that people rarely discussed in the period that the story was set. After researching interpretations, it is consistently said “She is pregnant, and he wants her to have an abortion” (Weeks 76), to which I agree that this conversation is about abortion. With the man seemingly pushing the topic and the girl hesitant and questionable, it is unsure as to the result of their conversation. However, it is my belief that she chose to follow her heart and not get the abortion.
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.
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
The dialogue in Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” reveals a man’s and a woman’s incongruent conflict on abortion, and the author’s fundamentally feminist position is visible in the portrayal of the woman’s independent choice of whether or not to keep the baby she is carrying. The plot is very simple in the story which is less than 1500 words long. A woman and a man spend less than an hour on a hot summers day at a Spanish train station in the valley of Ebro as they are waiting for a train heading for Madrid. Their dialogue takes up most of the space and only few major actions take place.
Important parts of the story are not discovered instantly. In the story, Hills Like White Elephants, symbolism is used to describe an unstable relationship between a man and women. Symbolism is portrayed in Hills Like White Elephants through the couple’s consumption of alcohol, the setting and mood of the story, the white elephant, the elephant in the room and the number two. When reading Hills Like White Elephants, it is obvious that drinking alcohol is a large part of their relationship. Alcohol is not portrayed as a good thing.
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.