Clash of Male and Female Differences in Hemingway

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In “The Hills like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway, the theme of abortion is illustrated by the clash of a male and female relationship and the symbolic meanings of the Middle East. While in Spain the American and the girl are torn between one decision: whether to have an abortion or to have a baby.

“The Hills like White Elephants” takes place in a train station in Spain. “The station [is] between two lines of rails in the sun”(Hills Like White Elephants-Litarary Analysis ). The rails run through a river valley with hills on one side of the valley; dry and barren and those on the other side are described with imagery of living, growing thing; in choosing whether to abort or to have the child, the couple have to choice between two ways of life. The two rails go separate ways, foreshadowing what will become of the couple after the story is over. The bamboo bead curtain in the station is acting as a curtain that is limiting the couple’s options, and their conversations; symbolizing that the pregnancy is also acting as a curtain between the couple, and at the end becomes a wall between them. The couple then has two choices: have an abortion and stay together like the American wants, or to have the baby and go their separate ways, leaving the girl to settle down and have a family of her own. The abortion is associated with the dry infertility of the hills on the barren side of the valley and by extension with the aimless, self-indulgent life they have been leading, and having the child is associated with the lifelike features on the other side of the valley, the “fields of grain and trees along the banks of the Ebro,” (DiYanni) that symbolizes the stream of life.

The story is told mostly in dialogue and “authentically capture...

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...as decided to have the abortion and stay in her relationship, or to keep the baby and start a family of her own.

Works Cited

DiYanni, Robert. Literature. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies Inc., n.d.

Hills Like White Elephants-Litarary Analysis . n.d. 2 October 2011 .

—. The Setting of the Hills Like White Elephants. n.d. 2 October 2011 .

O'Brien, Timothy D. Allusion Word-Play and the central conflict in Hemingway's "Hills like White Elephants". West Flordia, Pensacola, Flordia: United States Naval Academy, 1992.

Wyche, David. "LETTING THE AIR INTO A RELATIONSHIP: METAPHORICAL ABORTION IN 'HILL WHITE ELEPHANTS'." LETTING THE AIR INTO A RELATIONSHIP: METAPHORICAL ABORTION IN 'HILL WHITE ELEPHANTS' (2002).

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