Hills Like White Elephants Literary Analysis

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Upon an initial reading, Earnest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” is a very vague story of a man and a woman, named Jig, going back and forth in dialogue about their “predicament,” that is not specifically named. However, with the use of descriptive settings, Hemingway is able to give great detail as to what the couple is discussing. Without it being specifically named, the reader is able to infer that the woman, Jig, is pregnant, and the man wants her to get an “operation,” assumed to be an abortion. Throughout the story, Hemingway describes the symbolic settings using time, location, and scenery, adding to the complexity of the dialogue and situation; all of these elements greatly impact the overall meaning of the story. The story begins with the couple awaiting the arrival of their train at the station. Hemingway describes the train station to be a hot and uncomfortable place, much like their current situation of deciding their fate. He illustrates the scene as though it is a crossroad, with the train station being in between two train tracks…show more content…
He uses the scenery to describe what her life would be like. He describes a cloud over the hills, symbolizing a constant reminder of the child that she would be giving up. There is a flowing river, which can be interpreted as being free. In the far distance, Hemingway describes mountains, meaning that later on in life, she would be ready to have a child. “Across, on the other side, were fields of grain and trees along the banks of the Ebro. Far away, beyond the river, were mountains. The shadow of a cloud moved across the field of grain and she saw the river through the trees. ‘And we could have all of this,’ she said. ‘And we could have everything and every day we make it more impossible.’” (Hemingway 70-71). Seeing this, Jig begins to romanticize the life that she and the man could have if she had the
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