Analysis of Hills Like White Elephants Essay

Analysis of Hills Like White Elephants Essay

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Analysis of Hills Like White Elephants

“Hills Like White Elephants”, by Ernest Hemingway, is a short story published in 1927 that takes place in a train station in Spain with a man and a woman discussing an operation. Most of the story is simply dialogue between the two characters, the American and Jig. This couple is at a critical point in their lives when they must decide whether or not to have an abortion. Certain themes arise from this story such as choices and consequences, doubt and ambiguity, and how men and women relate. Hemingway also uses many examples of symbolism in “Hills Like White Elephants”, including descriptions of the surrounding scenery, the hills themselves, and the station where the action takes place. Clearly, this short story crosses timelines to become relevant to both the early twentieth century and modern times.

The most obvious theme recognized early in this short story is that of choices and consequences. The couple is unmarried and the girl has become pregnant, but the man wants her to have an abortion. 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 ...


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...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.

Bibliography:

Works Cited

Akers, Tim (Ed.). Short Stories for Students (Vol. 6). Farmington Hills, MI: Gale, 1999. 158-170.

Beacham, Walton. Critical Survey of Short Fiction. Ed. Frank N. Magill. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Salem Press, 1981. 6-8

Hamid, Syed Ali. “Men with Women: Hemingway ‘Love Stories’”. The Short Fiction of Ernest Hemingway. New Delhi: Ashish Publishing House, 1985. 77-78.

Johnston, Kenneth G. Short Stories for Students (Vol. 6). Ed. Tim Akers. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale, 1999. 167-168.

Weeks, Lewis E. Jr. Short Stories for Students (Vol. 6). Ed. Tim Akers. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale, 1999. 169-170.

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