Nobel Prize winner, Ernest Hemingway tells a story quite like no other in Hills Like White Elephants. Most of the short story is set up as a conversation between an American man and girl waiting for a train in Spain. The couple dances around with what they are feeling and what they want to say about “something” but that “something” is never revealed, and up to the reader to interpret. Since most of the story is written as dialogue, communication plays a key role along with how it contributes in relationships. Hemingway fills the story with layers of symbols and imagery that may seem vague at first but leave the reader astonished and perplexed. The reader is first introduced to the main characters when they arrive at a train station bar. At first it seems pleasant while they order their drinks but then soon the conversation turns sharp and it feels like if the reader is eavesdropping on this very private conversation in a very public place. As the story goes on the American man and the girl, who he calls “Jig” quarrel back and forth but never say the reason why exactly. The dialogue between the two grows intense when the man keeps mentioning a “simple operation”. The man is keen on the girl having the operation, but the girl is unsure and becomes uneasy about the topic. She pleads, “Would you please please please please please please stop talking?” (Hemingway pg. 118). He stays silent for a bit but brings it up again. They can’t seem to agree or understand each other’s perspective on their conflicting situation. Although, they are speaking to each other they are not communicating. This is vital in a relationship to be able to listen and comprehend each other’s feelings and views, and nothing of that sort happens in this story. The man comes off as annoyed and frustrated with the situation and does everything he can to persuade the girl into getting the operation. He says he loves her and that things will go back to how they were. The man sounds passive aggressive when he says, “Well if you don’t want to you don’t have to. I wouldn’t have you do it if you didn’t want to. But I know it’s perfectly simple.” (Hemingway pg. 116). He knows by saying this it will seem like he cares for the girl and her decision but its just a performance into getting what he ultimately wants. At this point in the story it is understood, but never said that the “simple operation” is an abortion. The girl is hesitant about the abortion at first, but after much talk from the man she says, “Then I’ll do it. Because I don’t care about me.” (Hemingway pg. 117). She’s saying she loves the man more than she cares about her needs and will do what he wants. But towards the end of the story the reader is left under the impression that the girl will not go through with the abortion. The dispute between the two puts their relationship at a crossroads, both literally and figuratively. The train station settled in between Madrid and Barcelona, not a final stop but a midpoint, a place to decide where to go next. Like the station, their relationship is at a pause wondering what they’ll do next and if they will continue on their journey with each other. Railroad tracks run side by side together but never come together. This could be a foreshadowing of their relationship because Hemingway never discloses what happens to the couple and their train ride. The title in itself holds so much meaning to the story and what it’s about. White Elephant is a game you play on Christmas where you give someone something you don’t want. In a nutshell a white elephant represents something you don’t want. In the opening of the story the girl observes that the hills look like white elephants. This is a symbol of her unplanned pregnancy and the baby the man does not want. Later she seems to admire the hills saying “They’re lovely hills. They don’t really look like white elephants. I just meant the coloring of their skin through the trees.” (Hemingway pg.…
April 19, 2013
“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…
Ernist Hemingway: Hills Like White Elephants
“Hills like white elephants”, this is a term not many may understand. The term “White Elephants” has an underlying meaning of something that is unwanted or not needed. This short story starts out in a train station surrounded by hills, fields, and trees in a valley in Spain. A man known simply as the American and his girlfriend sit at a table outside the station, waiting for a train to Madrid. They order beer and speak…
I believe that Hemingway’s writing in “Hills Like a White Elephant” is good writing. It is Hemingway’s style to write in vague conversations and nondescript characters or settings. However, while he seems to be writing a very simple dialogue, there is in fact a much more complex story behind what he writes. His simplicity makes his stories compelling and mysterious, and they can pertain to many situations and feelings. This makes them applicable to most situations and readers can use their inferencing…
readers the opportunity to think about what could have happened afterwards or imagine what happened in the past. His Iceberg theory style created a simple picture on top but underneath it all, there would be a huge mass of unstated conflict. Hills like White Elephants is a prime example of the way Hemmingway portrays this commendable style of writing. This story goes so far in depth of certain themes and symbols that allows the reader to predict just what that unstated conflict could be.
The first theme…
Due: Wednesday, October 3rd
“The Hills Like White Elephants”
Ernest Hemmingway very boldly introduces an extremely controversial topic into his story that is not only sensitive in today’s culture, but also unheard of in 1927 when this story was published. This situation handles an extremely typical male and an indecisive female to decide the fate of their next few steps in the world with their unborn child. This story contains prevalent rigid misconception…
“Hills Like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway is a short story made up of a conversation between a couple. The tension between the couple can be felt with each word, which is easily understandable under the given circumstances on the topic of abortion. The male character wants the woman, or “Jig, as he calls her, to go through with the abortion. Although he never clearly states his motives, his unspoken motivation is understood by his actions throughout the story.
The couple is waiting for…
Analysis: Hills like White Elephants
In the short story “Hills like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway we zoom into a couple at a train junction in Valley Ebro. As we read into the story we uncover the journey to be taken by the couple. There are choices to be made, important decisions to take. The change in the relationship can be foreshadowed by the separations created by the tracks and various other objects in the story.
Hemingway sets out the setting at the beginning before starting with…
6 September 2013
The Big Picture
“So think about this: even if you’re one in a million, on a planet of 6.8 billion that means there are nearly 7,000 people just like you,” said McCullough. If everything or everyone were the same thing, there would be nothing to compare it to because they’re all alike. This speech further explains to say that no one is special because everyone is special. Everyone is exceptional because no one is. This speech is called “You’re…
Angel G. Medina Villalobos ENC 1102 August 28th, 2014
Valencia College Prof. Daniel Wilson
My thoughts on Hills Like White Elephants
In Hills Like White Elephants we can see the struggle of a couple with clashing mindsets regarding parenthood. At first the problem might not seem obvious but as the story unfolds it gets clear what the discussion is about. Jig, a young and optimistic woman is constantly persuading the man, his husband or lover, that having the…
Sexual perspectives based on Existentialism
Abstract: The main thoughts of The Lost Generation, especially in their writings, contribute a lot to Existentialism. Through the conversation in Hemingway’s The Hills Like White Elephants, different perspectives based on gender difference are presented to readers. One is the way to perceive the meaning of life, and the other is the way to choose the life. Those gender differences lead to the thinking of how to reach a harmonious state…