Analysis of Hills Like White Elephants by Ernest Hemingway "Hills Like White Elephants," is a short story,. It is a story about a man and a woman waiting at a train station talking about an issue that they never name. I believe this issue is abortion. In this paper I will prove that the girl in the story, who's name is Jig, finally decides to go ahead and have the baby even though the man, who does not have a name, wants her to have an abortion. It is the end of the story that makes me think this.
The train is supposed to show change and movement, something this couple appears to need because their life is very routine. The reader is told that there is a curtain made of strings of bamboo beads, hung across the open door into the bar, to keep out flies. The bamboo beads not only keep them from their problems (known as flies) but it also keeps their lives separate from all of the other people at the bar. Hemingway then tells the reader that the train will stop at this junction for two minutes and then go to Madrid. The train only stopping for two minutes is to show the importance of the girl’s decision to have the abortion.
Becoming pregnant unexpectedly leaves a woman at a higher risk for considering an abortion. The higher risk could be due to her or her partner unready for a child or have an unmet need for contraception. Which could explain why the young couple was highly considering the abortion. Allowing the reader to know this information, it could enlighten them to realize why the man is encouraging Jig to have the abortion at a subtly aggressive extent. He is unready to have the responsibility of a child or a family.
It stopped at this junction for two minutes and went to Madrid” (290 paragraph 1). Ernest Hemingway crafts a well written dialogue in this story about a man and a girl. The story begins with a detailed description of a train station in Spain surrounded by beautiful hills. The story then turns into dialogue between the two. A man and a girl who appear to be traveling sit down at a train station to grab a beer and wait for the train.
“Hills like White Elephants” is told in a vague way that holds the reader at bay. Hemingway’s genius use of symbolism helps the reader understand the story. One of the most prevalent use of symbolism is the term white elephant, which represents “an unwanted gift, a seemingly remote and but immense problem,” that the couple are forced to deal with (Kozikowski 107). The white elephant denotes the unwanted unborn child that is resented by the father, although the mother is curious to see through. The use of the railroad symbolizes the divide in the relationship.
This consequently leads to the girl getting annoyed of the man saying that all they do is “look at things and try new drinks” (Hemingway 397). There is something more to this life is what her mind tells her, but the at-ease attitude of her boyfriend doesn’t coincide well with that. To be blunt, the girl craves change, and it is uncertain whether or not the American man can provide that now or ever. The man just sits there and says that all will be good once this issue is taken care of, so this annoys the girl. She is tired of this cultural mirage and living in another person’s fantasy.
This setting conveys the decision that must be made in regards to the unspoken pregnancy of Jig. The train station also symbolizes a decision point in their lives, conveying a decision as to which direction to go. In the story, Hemingway relies on symbolism to convey the theme of abortion. The characters in the story, “The American,” and “Jig” arrive at a train station in the Ebro Valley on their way from Barcelona to Madrid. While stopped for a forty-five minute layover, awaiting the next train, a conversation takes place that is a crossroads in the characters lives.
She wants to be in her own stated of mind again, but her husband is going to take her physician fro nervous disorder if she doesn’t get better “John says if I don’t pick up faster he shall send me to Weir Mitchell in the fall” (511). She wishes to be cure but her fears to John don’t allow her to have a confrontation with him. She is very afraid of him and as a consequence, she keeps focusing in the wall paper as a way of escaping from that life that she has. “The Gilded six-bits” is a story of love, infidelity, and pardon. Joe has a modest but cheerful home.
The American obviously believes that the abortion will free the couple from any responsibilities, which is what they have been experiencing before this turn of events (Short Stories for Students 158). The man also feels that the pregnancy is the only thing that has caused them to have arguments and become unhappy with each other in the relationship (Hamid 77). Clearly, the girl is reluctant in her decision to have the abortion. She feels that either choice she makes will not have much of an effect on their long-term relationship and hopes of finding true love and happiness (Short Stories for Students 158). Another theme found in “Hills Like White Elephants” is that of doubt and ... ... middle of paper ... ...ingway allowed this story to be open for discussion for many years to follow, allowing it to not only reflect the ideas of pre-World War II Europe, but to be adapted to the thoughts of modern societies.
“Hills Like White Elephants" is an extraordinary example of human communication. The story depicts a couple at a crisis point in their relationship, as they struggle to communicate their opposing views, and the course their relationship should take. Ego prevents the couple from seeing each other’s view point. Although Jig comes off somewhat submissive, both parties are strong willed and consumed by the power of their ideas and it prevents them from understanding one another’s outlook on the situation. When that occurs, any chance of compromise is lost.