Essay on Hills Like White Elephants

Submitted By kristielee051
Words: 899
Pages: 4

Kristie Doyle
April 19, 2013
College Writing
Jessica Ludders

“Hills Like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway

I chose to read “Hills Like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway. “This is a short story, that can was first published in the 1927 collection “Men Without Women” (Wikipedia). The story takes place at a railroad station in Spain, where an American man and his companion; a girl named Jig, are waiting for their train to arrive. They are heading to Madrid, where Jig may or may not have an operation to terminate her pregnancy. While they wait for the train to come they sip on some cold beers and other alcoholic drinks while they discuss their upcoming trip and their decisions to be made. The Man and Jig are having an in depth conversation about whether or not she is going to have the operation done. “The girl was looking off at the line of the hills. They were white in the sun and the country was brown and dry. ‘They look like white elephants,’ she said. ‘I’ve never seen one,’ the man drank his beer. ‘No you wouldn’t have’” (Hemingway). In this passage the white elephants are symbolic for the hills. The hills represent many things: obstacles, opportunities, complications, and pregnancy. The man sees the hills as an obstacle. The obstacle being hat he wants Jig to have the operation that will terminate her pregnancy. Although he says multiple times that he doesn’t want her to do anything that she doesn’t want to do, he still repeatedly tells her it’s a simple thing, and that she should have the procedure done. The man does not want for things to change and is afraid of the challenges that a new baby will bring. The man also sees this as an obstacle because the baby will change his way of living. He will no longer be able to come and go as he pleases and travel, but will become stationary, such as the hills. His life would also be more complicated and not so “simple” as he likes to say. To Jig, the hills are a sign of opportunity. While looking at the mountains Jig says “‘And we could have all this’, she said. ‘And we could have everything and every day we make it more impossible. “The man says we can go anywhere.” Jig replies ‘No we can’t. It isn’t ours anymore”(Hemingway). To Jig, the opportunity to have everything would be for her to keep her child and still stay with the man, all the while still having the things they dream about. The man repeatedly uses the word “simple” throughout the story, when in fact, nothing about their situation is simple at all, and it is all very complicated. “It’s really an awfully simple operation, Jig,’ the man said. ‘It’s not really an operation at all” (Hemingway). It’s evident that the two of them are not completely on the same page when is comes to terminating the pregnancy. The man thinks it is all a simple decision and procedure and that afterwords everything will go back to normal. “‘Then what will we do afterwords?’ ‘We’ll be fine afterwords. Just like we were before.’ ‘What makes you think so?’ ‘That’s the only thing that bothers us. It’s the only thing that’s made us unhappy.’ The girl looked at the bead curtain, put her hand out and took hold of two of the strings of beads. ‘And you think then we’ll be all right and happy.’ ‘I know we will. You don’t have to be afraid. I’ve known lots of people that have done