A Comparison Of Hills Like White Elephants And Raymond Carver's Cathedral

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More Than Meets The Eye While reading short stories, two stood out: Ernest Hemingway’s Hills Like White Elephants and Raymond Carver’s Cathedral. The themes in both stories are powerful and convey strong messages that really pose existential thoughts. Not only is each story’s theme attention grabbing, but so is the common and reoccurring use of symbolism throughout the stories. They did not just use the Element of Fiction symbolism, but even used one common symbol. Ernest Hemingway’s story Hills Like White Elephants and Raymond Carver’s story Cathedral each contain existential and similar themes such as talking versus communicating and looking versus seeing, as well as demonstrating creative and comparable symbolism throughout. In Ernest…show more content…
This theme goes hand in hand with the theme portrayed in Hills Like White Elephants. In the story the narrator, whose name is never mentioned, has something against his wife’s blind friend, Robert, due to the fact that he cannot see. Robert visits the narrator and the narrator’s wife for company. It seems that the narrator had a preconceived idea that all blind people are boring, depressed, stupid, and are barely even human at all based on the fact that they cannot see the world. Robert, although he is blind, is a caring and outgoing person who is extremely close with the narrator’s wife. The fact that Robert is extremely close with the narrator’s wife should be reason enough for the narrator to accept him as a person, but he is a cold and shallow person with no friends. His relationship with his wife is lacking good communication and seems very bland. Robert’s wife recently passed away, but their relationship was deep and they were truly in love with each other. The narrator was blind to how a woman could work with, sleep with, be intimate with, and marry Robert as has he talks about how he felt sorry for her. The narrator is superficial and does not understand true love or…show more content…
Both stories mention alcohol an excessive amount. In Hills Like White Elephants Jig and the American order drinks before discussing the elephant in the room: abortion. They talk about drinks almost as much as they talk about the operation and it seems as if their relationship is based around alcohol. The couple agrees that all they do is, “. . . look at things and try new drinks” (Hemingway 116). That seems like a pretty surface level relationship. The alcohol highlights the talking aspect rather than the communicating aspect of the theme: talking versus communicating. It helps to convey the idea that their relationship is not deep and the couple does not communicate well. The alcohol tells the reader that a lot is lacking from the couple’s relationship if the reoccurring topic of conversation for them is about drinking alcohol. Anyone can talk about alcohol; couples should talk about more important things and get to know each other on an intimate level. Alcohol poses the idea that perhaps the pair is not in an exclusive relationship at all, but only know one another from parties and social events. Alcohol serves as a distraction from the heavy subject that they should converse. Like Hills Like White Elephants, all three characters in the Cathedral drink alcohol constantly. Before every main event a character is preparing or drinking an alcoholic beverage. Once again, this symbolizes

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