Over the Hills
As humans, we are limited to our senses and define the world around us by interacting with each other and by learning from our mistakes. Our biggest weakness is that we cannot foresee the future, and thus, we are left questioning our utter existence or sole purpose. There is a point in every person’s life where he or she must make a difficult decision that carries with them for the rest if their lives. Ernest Hemingway, one of the most influential writers of his time, depicts this idea in his short stories, “Indian Camp” and “Hills like White Elephants,” by constantly referencing to the hills as a sign of uncertainty to the characters about how their decisions will impact themselves and their loved ones in the near future. The hills in both short stories symbolize a turning point in a person’s life, and Hemingway exposes the reader to the importance of one’s choices by means of a father and son who witness life and death in “Indian Camp” and a young couple who must decide whether to keep their baby or not in “Hills like White Elephants.”
In the short story “Indian Camp” by Ernest Hemingway, a father takes his son Nick out on a trip to an “Indian camp” with the intention of helping deliver a baby and simultaneously teaching his son about life and becoming a man. Before we are even introduced to the characters in the beginning of the story, Hemingway very cleverly introduces the story by describing the arrival of the father and Nick as, “They walked up from the beach through a meadow that was soaking wet with dew, following the young Indian who carried a lantern. Then they went into the woods and followed a trail that led to the logging road that ran back into the hills.” The arrival of Nick and his father through t...
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...hat we might have done or even the choices that we the readers have made in our lives. The hills were a powerful tool used by Hemingway to convey a sense of uncertainty of the future and the importance of one’s choices, and they allow for the reader to reflect on his or her own actions. Although we are limited to living in the present and have no insight into what the future holds, we have the power to choose our destiny and give life meaning with the choices we make and the lives we impact.
Hemingway, Ernest. “Indian Camp.” In Our Time: stories. New York: Scribner, 1958. Print.
Hotchner, A. E. "Foreword." Papa Hemingway: A Personal Memoir. New York: Da Capo, 1966.
Mays, Kelly J. “Hills Like White Elephants.” The Norton Introduction to Literature. Ed. Spencer
Richardson-Jones. New York: W.W. Norton & Company Inc, 2013. 590-594
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