“Hills Like White Elephants” is a short story written by Ernest Hemingway. Set in Spain in the year 1927, and narrated in the third person limited, this is the story of the internal conflict of an unmarried expectant couple in route to have an abortion. Hemingway cleverly uses several literary elements to describe underlying conflicts between the couple as they discuss the procedure. The central idea is an identity crisis regarding self-identity, and how conflict, setting, diction, and symbolism are used to tell the story. The central idea is an identity crisis, Jig experiences an identity crisis as she realizes her feelings about the pregnancy are in direct contradiction to the feelings expressed by the man concerning her pregnancy.
The discussion that the man and girl are having is whether or not she wants to and will have an abortion. When the girl mentions the landscape she expresses that by going through with the abortion and trying to “drift through life they are choosing emotional and spiritual desiccation” (Holladay) meaning life will not be the same after it, therefore the dull and dead side of the track represents the abortion while the other side represents keeping the baby because it is obvious that the girl does not want to have an abortion as much as the man does. In the same way that the baby will be alive if she chooses not to abort it the green side of the track is lively and if she aborts the baby the baby will be dead just like the dead side of the track. The concept of the white elephant, in this story, represents the baby or for the girl the decision of what to do with the baby. The term “white
Black or White Hills: The Resolution of Hills Like White Elephants Hemingway is known as a master of the Iceberg Theory, which his short story Hills like White Elephants is a prime example of. The short story feels a lot like a fragment of a longer story – beginning and end are left up to the reader’s imagination and the story is mainly based around a single topic: the fate of their unborn child. It is a story about a couple in Spain waiting for a train. They have a couple of drinks and attempt to decide whether to go through with an abortion or not. At the end of the story, the reader is left with two main questions: will the girl go through with the abortion and will the couple remain together?
The conflict that the pair seem to be discussing is never named and it becomes the metaphorical elephant in the room much like the white elephants that Jig sees in the mountains. One of the most notable facets of “Hills Like White Elephants” is the repetition of sentences throughout the short story. With the story running at barely two thousand words, the repetition of these key phrases stands out among the dialogue. The phrase from which the title comes from, “like white elephants”, reoccurs five times within the text. In cultural context, an elephant in the room is an idiom for a burden or an issue at hand that no one wants to discuss.
This is made clear using imagery in the title, setting and discussion between the two characters. Using the term "White elephant" in the title of the story is what first grabs your attention to some kind of issue the two will be having. The saying "white elephant" refers to “a possession unwanted by the owner but difficult to dispose of", that being a baby between Jig and the American. Thinking about their relationship, there is additionally a connection to be made that they once had an easy and outgoing relationship but is presently going to be a very costly one to keep if they so choose so. The couple is in between two different train lines, one line conveying to prepare from Barcelona to Madrid and the other racing to some mysterious area.
“Avoiding the White Elephant” In the short story “Hills Like White Elephants”, by Ernest Hemmingway, a girl and an American man in a romantic relationship are at a crossroads, both as the setting, and in their romantic relationship. The American man and girl have been nomadic together as a romantic couple, but at the current moment the two are stagnate arguing. When the two start downing alcohol, it becomes clearer that the girl is pregnant and the man is inclined in favor of her to get an abortion, though neither ever directly speaks the issue. The two remain to argue around the obvious issue at hand, the girl remarks on the barren but beautiful white hills around them and the alcohol they are drinking, the man is persistent to reach agreement
“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.
Jig’s Hidden Strength Ernest Hemingway’s short story “Hills Like White Elephants” is a controversial piece of literature, both in content and the way it is written. The piece contains lots of dialogue and symbolism; it is in no way blunt or obvious, not even the ending. It is only through careful observation that it becomes clear that the main characters, an American man and his female companion named Jig, are arguing about an abortion. The story has been interpreted many times, and a multitude of explanations for the ending have been proposed. The only aspect that seems to be agreed upon is “the existing relationship between the American and the girl will deteriorate, or terminate” (Hashmi).
1. Giving birth to a child is a girl’s happiest moment. However, sometimes things don’t go as they are expected to go. Sometimes for some reasons girl’s have to go through abortion. In the story, “Hills Like White Elephants”, the man seems to want the girl to have an abortion as he says, “They just let air in…”(205) The man tries to convince the girl physically and mentally to have the abortion by telling her, “I know you wouldn’t mind it…They just let the air in and then it’s all perfectly natural”(205).
By using a limiting third person point of view that consists mostly of dialogue, Hemingway creates an obstacle as there is no insight to what is going on inside of either party’s head. The conflict that the pair seem to be discussing is never named and it becomes the metaphorical elephant in the room much like the white elephants that Jig sees in the mountain. One of the most notable facets of “Hills Like White Elephants” is the repetition of sentences throughout the short story. With the story running at barely two thousand words, the repetition of these key phrases stands out among the dialogue. The phrase from which the title comes from, “like white elephants”, reoccurs five times within the text.
Shortly after the girl mentions that the hills outside look like white elephants, she says, “But if I do it, then it will be nice again if I say things are like white elephants, and you’ll like it?” This passage is about halfway through the story. At this point of the story, the woman is disregarding her observation that the hills around them look like white elephants. She is also placing emphasis on the fact that she may want to keep the child, rather than having the abortion. The boyfriend says that he will support the woman’s decision, but it is clear that he truly wants her to have the abortion. He does not want the responsibility of raising a child at this point in his life.
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.
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
“Hills Like White Elephants” is a short story written by the American author Ernest Hemingway. The story was first published in 1927 in the experimental literary journal transition and later on during the same year in the second collection of short stories written by Hemingway called Men Without Women. Ernest Hemingway is regarded as one of the most important writers of the 20th century and most of his works are considered as classics of American literature. After a first read of the short story “Hills Like White Elephants”, the reader can clearly see that Hemingway entwined some autobiographical components into the story, especially his lifelong difficulty to engage in meaningful relationships with women in particular. The numerous allusions
In Hemingway’s story Hills like White Elephants the conflict and tension between the man and the woman are revealed through their dialogue with one another and through their actions. Also revealed through dialogue and gestures is the subject of their conflict which is their unborn child and the decision the woman is faced with. The first words exchanged between the man and the woman suggests that she is upset with him. Her comment to his response of having never seen a white elephant, “No, you wouldn’t have”, is rude. There was not a reason for her to be rude like that.
A white elephant symbolizes something unwanted. It could also have roots in “elephant in the room”, an English metaphorical idiom for an extremely obvious problem that nobody wants to discuss. As the conversation between the two begins to unfold, the girl makes a comment the surrounding hills “look like white elephants” (Mays, 2014, p. 115). It seems to be a casual and spontaneous remark, but it actually serves as the onset to their discussion about an operation, which is believed to be an abortion. It can be presumed that the girl’s comment about the hills hints to the unborn child which refers to the “something unwanted” which they do not want to discuss.
In the beginning of both stories, the protagonists are illustrated as sensitive and perhaps weak. It is clear in Hemingway’s, The Girl is dependent on The American, countlessly considering abortion in order for things to ‘be like they were’,
The white elephants in his story represent fertility. Both the woman and her boyfriend struggle to speak of abortion. It is a sensitive topic and may even not be accepted in society. The woman is apprehensive and does not know what will happen next if she does decide to get an abortion (Norton). The relationship between the characters shows that the woman depends on the man’s approval but also seeks acceptance and
Men are from Mars; women are from Venus; this statement best describes Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills are Like White Elephants.” Although not directly implied, the short story gives insight as to how a man and a woman, who are going through a crisis together, have a very different outlook on how to communicate, remedy the situation and discuss what they want and need from one another. “While giving the words, metaphors, writers execute ‘concept plan learning’ to shape significant words games called the iceberg theory. The iceberg theory shares another name called the theory of omission”, in which noticeable meanings of words are missing and hidden (Wu and Hong 210). The goal of this paper is to examine Hemingway’s theory of omission writing style to demonstrate how using symbolisms, motifs, and metaphors, the