“Hills like White Elephants” uses irony in a subtle way for example, the American says “you don’t have to if you don’t want to” in regard to the abortion. The irony is that even when Jig, the female protagonist, suggests anything other than abortion, it is brushed aside by the American. (215). He does little to pick up on the small clues that she might want the child and not go through with the abortion. The white elephant represents the baby and when she mentions that the hills are lovely “his [unconscious] ironic reply is to offer her another drink” (Weeks 76). One of the drinks they consume is Absinthe, which has a “narcotic and carnal connotation” which could have lead them to the point th...
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... manner that the American refers to the operation as “letting the air in” (215). Color plays an integral function in understanding that the couple is at parallel ends like the train track. The “blackness of the licorice and the whiteness of the hills contrast between sorrow and joy”; furthermore, the way the couple seem divided and conflicted. (Weeks 75)
In concussion, Hemingway’s treatment of irony, setting, conflict, and symbolism show the couple talk about a taboo subject, but don’t listen to each other. There is sublet commentary on the reproductive rights of a woman. The complex yet simple short story reveals a multilayered story of a couple who face abortion a major decision; nevertheless, have a shallow conversation that reflects their relationship together. At the time having an abortion was inviolable, which explains its obscure nature at first impression.
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