Hills Like White Elephants By Tim Obrien: A Literary Analysis

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In literature there are many different elements that are utilized when writing short stories. Authors use these key literary elements in order to deliver a well written story. In the story, “Hills Like White Elephants”, writer Ernest Hemingway, focuses on individual vs. self-conflict, while writer Tim Obrien focuses on individual vs. individual and individual vs. self-conflict in his story “The Things They Carried”. This Literary analysis will attempt to show how each author through different writing techniques use literary elements to deliver similar core conflicts within each story. In Obrien’s story, “The Things They Carried,” First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross encounters his struggle of individual vs. individual as it pertains to Martha, a young…show more content…
Figurative language of the rails, which are going opposite directions indicate the couple’s relationship is going in separate directions as they are a decision point about the abortion (Renner, 1995). In Hemingway’s story, the protagonists states “ everything tastes like liquorice” (Clugston, 2014), this leads to the climax in the “Hills Like White Elephants”, as the characters Jig and the American have opposing views and feelings about the operation. Early on in the story, Jigs feelings about the operation is present as she gazes and states the hills resemble white elephants (Clugston, 2014). The Americans language overpowers Jigs as she knows she will not bear the child. Jig realizes this so she “outwits her boorish American by manipulating the conversation and the man at each turn to control the shared destiny of her and her unborn child (Rankin, 2005). The American who opposes the birth of the child, continues to oversimplify the matter (Rankin, 2005). An epiphany is created for the American as Jig manipulates the man and his persistence, who has also simplified the issue then realizes that he will not sway Jigs mind. This epiphany can been seen…show more content…
According to Wells, O’Brien’s simplistic approach catalogs the objects, memories and emotion American soldiers carried with them into the war (Wells, 2000). O’Brien suggests that the soldiers carried the landscape of fear, danger and boredom along with the horror (Wells, 2000). The items in which these soldiers carried was a sense of security and comfort while away from home. Lieutenant Cross humped a pebbles in which Martha mailed to him along with a couple of photos. This form of “humped” meant to carry something. Throughout the story Lieutenant Cross “humped” through the hills and swamps of Vietnam War. O’Brien uses the same word “hump” however, the meaning is different as he is referring to walking (Clugston, 2014). O’Brien uses figurative language throughout “The Things They Carried”, he critically places specific words and terms so that he can build to the climax of the story. O’Brien’s use of epiphany is viewable when Lieutenant Cross realizes that his behavior that may have contributed to a platoon member’s death could not be changed. Lieutenant Cross epiphany was noticeable towards the ends of the story, realizing he had to let go of the things he was carrying for so long. Moreover, Lieutenant Cross’s distractive and security, Martha, caused his epiphany after the death of Tim Lavender, a

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