Hills Like White Elephants Essay

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Ernest Hemingway’s short story “Hills like White Elephants” is a simple story in which not much action takes place. Literally, the story is about a couple at a train station in Spain having an argument over something vague. Although many close readings (carried out by professors, students, and acclaimed critics) have focused on the topic of the couple’s argument, many have overlooked the language of the story. The simplicity of “Hills like White Elephants” allows the reader to hone in on the text and its linguistic artifacts without the interference of an overwhelmingly detailed plot. In this essay, I will analyze the grammatical structure of the short story, draw comparisons between the plot and the language, and examine Hemingway’s stylistic choices. Given the short length of “Hills like White Elephants”, the easiest linguistic element to spot is the repetition of sentences as well as the lexical arrangements. The phrase “like white elephants” is important not only because it appears in the title but also because the narrator repeats the phrase five times. It is interesting to note that the…show more content…
Even though her words sound imperative, the “would” and overuse of “please” makes the sentence a question rather than a demand—there is a sense of urgency. The placement of this sentence comes at a somewhat odd place of the couple’s argument. The girl makes asks this question at the end of their conversation when the American has already said all he needs to say. The sentence tips the balance of a normal flow of conversation. Because this request appears at the end of the argument, there is an added emphasis on Jig’s helplessness. Another note that may or may not be significant (could be just a coincidence) is that “please” repeats seven times just as Jig had asked the earlier question, “Will we be all right?” in seven different
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