What do you think about when you read the words “Hills like White Elephants”? Ernest Hemingway was a handsome man that had everyone captivated by his 1927 short story “Hills like White Elephants” . Hemingway writing was very important in the late 20th century. His writing was straight forwarded and brief. Nevertheless his literature, he was married 4 times with different woman. He would seemingly fall in love with much younger woman every time he divorce the others.
Hemingway provides the sense of a personal experience through his dialogue and he symbolizes he setting of two extraordinary characters unease conversation. “Hills like white elephants” by Ernest Hemingway is a story written in 3rd person omission. The story contains two characters “The American” and a girl named “Jig”. In the story the two are sitting in a station- bar waiting for the train to Madrid. While they are waiting they order drinks and they start to engage in an intense yet lightly conversation on whether she should or not have an abortion.
The American simply wants her to get the operation done. The American keeps reassuring her nothing will change between them and that he will still love her regardless. Until she stands up to look at the hills again and commands him to stop talking about it before she claims she is fine. Awkward scene of silence occurs the bartender tells him the train arrives in 5 minutes. The American stands and tells her he is taking the bags to the other side of the tracks as they prepare to depart. The ending of the story leaves an unclear of the outcome of her decision.
The male Protagonist never reveals his name he is unknown throughout the know story. Hemingway’s illustrates the American as a rugged man and always has authority of himself. He tries to remain cool and he avoids any discussion of the girls nd his problem. His Job in the story is to convince the girl to have the operation but the he tries to act like he does not care what she does. He does not understand nor listen to what the girl has to say nor does the girl. On the other hand, the female protagonist in which the American calls “Jig” at a certain point but never mentions her real name.
The girl is very indecisive throughout the story in whether to have the operation or not. She wants to talk about the operation yet wanting to avoid the conversation also. She also can even order drinks without the Americans ability to speak Spanish. This demonstrates that she is less assertive and she is helpless because she tells him he only cares about him and not her when she states ” I don’t care about me”( Hemingway 690). They are both so different from each other which makes them have a hard time to communicate without understanding each other’s point of view.
Hemingway was a ladies man, was known to get any women he wanted, preferably younger women. Many possibilities been an outcome of the American’s action in the story. A biographic experience may be the reason why “The American” in the story is not hesitate towards an operation that he wants the girl to get done. Clearly no characters. David Wyche states that Hemingway’s experience may have “inspired and influenced the story’ (Wyche). It all makes sense, clearly because his first wife divorce him after she had found out the he was having a love affair with Pauline Pfeiffer.
In accordance to Hemingway the story does not reveal what this two characters were to each other. The American seems to have the ability to overpower the girl because he knows she is weak. In the story he begins to take slight control over the girl by saying that he will still love her. Hemingway gives the reader a sense that the American idn’t want any part of the unwanted child due to the fact that might uncover his infidelity. The story does not tell the thoughts of neither characters but it gives the audience actions of the characters so it is easy to assume and view different perspective.
While many feel like the American will leave her after, this scenario will give people a second thought. In this other scenario Hashmi has identified that maybe “The girl will have the abortion but The American will abandon her after the abortion” (Hashmi ). This scenario is a good assumption but looking into Hemingway’s ackground information it states that Hemingway did have an affair but then married her after his first divorce and they had two kids. All that has left to say is that she probably didn’t have the abortion. Hemingway story is full of symbolizations from the start.
The first thing that Hemingway symbolizes is “Hills like white elephants”, which appears the most throughout the story. The significant meaning of “Hills like white elephants” is an unwanted gift, in this case would be an unwanted child. Jig has received a gift which is useless to her at this time of her life. Hemingway uses this to evelop the idea of her having an unexpected child. Keeping in mind that this story is a personal experience of Hemingway himself so it is him who does not this child to be born and wants to get rid of it.
The hill is also a very important factor in the story. One thing that it represents is that Jigs babys is a huge part of her life, although it’s not the end of her life she believes she will make it through. Hemingway might have also chosen the hill to represent the way a women’s body transforms when being pregnant. Doris Lanier explains that “Barren hills remind weeks of a pregnant oman’s swollen belly and breast. At a point Jig looks at the view and says “We could have it all of this” (Hemingway 691).
She says this because looking deeper into the hills represents the possibility ofa new life and a newborn child in her life. Most people are blinded by the hills but don’t dwell from the valley. Doris Lanier states that The Ebro Valley represents the meaningful and fruitful life they could have if they would not go through with the abortion”( Lanier 280). Obviously the American wants no part in that so he tries his best to make her stop thinking about that life. In he Americans vision he pictures a happy future but it is blocked by the child.
Apart from the hill other setting provide symbolism. In which then expresses that tension that the story doesn’t provide. Lanier then implies that “The railroad Junction is a place where one can change direction” (Lanier 280). Symbolically, this represents that they have the option to change their destination. The American and Jig the girl clearly cannot stay at the train station forever. Even though the story doesn’t provide the decision that is was made, they are traveling so there must be a decision of what to o next.
At the end of the story the American picks up the bags and carries them out to the other side of the tracks, this is when the tension of the story is uncovered. Jig made and they move on to whichever way they chose. In conclusion, the story “Hills like white elephants” is a story about crisis and neither on them have an easy way out. A decision has to be made and it is clearly difficult for them because even not making a decision is a decision. Even if it is a situation not pertaining to an abortion we all have can relate to being in a similar situation.