Hills Like White Elephants Literary Analysis

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In his short story “Hills Like White Elephants”, Ernest Hemingway brings the reader to a train station somewhere between Barcelona and Madrid. An American and a girl are having an argument that could be seen as trivial on the surface, but is actually a painful discussion about aborting their child. The much older American tries to persuade the young girl to give the baby up in hopes that he might be able to leave her without any obligations left behind, but she seems to want to keep the child and start a life together. Hemingway uses symbolism, dialogue, and language to convey that the American is manipulating the girl into getting an abortion. Throughout the short story, the girl is dependent on the American. Hemingway uses dialogue to convey…show more content…
Usually white elephants represent something that no one wants, similar to the child the girl is pregnant with. The girl later retracts this statement which could be perceived as her actually wanting to keep the baby; this prompts the American to bring the topic of the abortion to the table. He most likely does this in fear of the girl backing out of the procedure and ultimately dragging him into raising a child. The American repeatedly oversimplifies the abortion in attempt to keep the girl from changing her mind. When the girl asks what would happen after it was done, the American reassures her that an abortion would make them “... fine. Just like [they] were before.”, suggesting that the only way for them to be happy once…show more content…
Again and again, she asks him his opinion of the outcome of the operation. She asks him if he will love her if she goes through with the abortion and he will stop worrying if she does what he wants her to do. She seems extremely desperate when asking these questions; this is due to the American manipulating her to feel guilty. After finally agreeing to do the operation in hopes to shut the American up and for things to go back to the way they used to be, he starts to go back on everything he was saying in attempts to make the girl feel even more

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