Hills Like White Elephants Setting

444 Words2 Pages
In his short story, “Hills Like White Elephants”, Ernest Hemingway manipulates the details of the setting in order to exemplify the characters’ struggle in deciding whether to have an abortion. Ernest Hemingway carefully chooses the way in which he expresses the setting by only giving limited details through the character dialogue. The reader understands that the characters are in the hills between “fields of grain and trees…[and] mountains” (477). The hills represent the pregnancy, while the fields represent death and the mountains represent life. The characters are stuck in the middle and the reader is able to follow their journey as they make a decision of where they want this pregnancy to end up. “[The hills] look like white elephants” (475). White elephants signify something undesired or unwanted, and because the hills are symbolic of the pregnancy, the…show more content…
They only have 40 minutes until the next train arrives, meaning that they only have 40 minutes to decide whether to have the abortion or to keep the baby. This amount of time is too little for the large decision that is being made, meaning that when they do come to one, it will be rushed and not thought out. The train station is “between two lines of rails” (475), one line taking them to the operation (towards the fields), and the other taking them away from it (towards the mountains). “The junction” (475) that they stop at is the decision that they have to make. As the conversation between the two characters continues, the boy “[picks] up the two heavy bags and [carries] them around the station to the other tracks” (478), making the decision for the girl. This action signifies that the decision has been made and that the abortion will happen because they are going to get on the next train. Even though the girl hasn’t decided if she wants this, in the end the boy decides that he doesn’t and ultimately his opinion matters more than
Open Document