Hills Like White Elephants Literary Analysis

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Ernest Hemingway creates a symbolic setting to develop his characters in “Hills Like White Elephants”. Instead of discussing his characters' dilemma directly, Hemingway uses symbolic words like “white”, “two”, “beaded curtain”, “dry side” to create a setting that suggests the struggle that the characters are engaged in while making a life-changing decision. The word white, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is defined as “free from color, free from spot or blemish”2. I feel Hemingway uses the word “white” in his story to create just the opposite, he creates an image of not being perfect, or not being untouched. The female character is pregnant, and she and the man are planning to abort the child in Madrid. The female character is…show more content…
They were white in the sun and the country was brown and dry.” 1 Hemingway uses symbols like the hills, which are green, representing life, in comparison with death, symbolized by a brown, burnt landscape. This description of the hills is imagery of the choices which the couple is faced. The hills descriptions are symbolic of the good or bad choices the couple must decide. But the choices are different in each character’s eyes. In the man’s eyes, this abortion is the only choice for them to have a future. He feels it is just an easy operation and it is not really anything important. In the women’s eyes, the abortion of the pregnancy, is not a choice and if she doesn’t follow through it, she will not have the love of the man anymore. The dry barrenness of the hills seems to be symbolic of death or sterility. Which ultimately is what the man wants for her. He would love for her to go through the simple operation, which would only be to “just to let the air in”1. This is easy for him to say since he feels the pregnancy is a thorn in his side and will keep them from living their life. Ultimately, the women will decide what is right for her, or does
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