ettingHills Like White Elephants: The Symbolism of the SettingIn Ernest Hemingway’s story “Hills Like White Elephants” an American couple issitting at a table in a train station in Spain.
They are discussing beer,travel, and whether or not to have an abortion. The train station and itssurroundings are symbolic in this story. The station itself represents thechoice on whether or not to have the abortion. There is a set of tracks oneither side of the station, each representing one of the choices.
On one side ofthe station, the tracks run through a lush, green landscape full of grainfieldsand trees. A wide river runs lazily in the foreground of some tall mountains. It is almost like a paradise. This side of the station symbolizes the choice ofgoing through with the abortion.Order now
As it is now they travel all around the world,drinking and staying in hotels, and seeing all the beautiful places in the world. They have no responsibilities or schedules in their life. With an abortion,they could continue their party- and fun-filled, although meaningless existence. The other side of the station is dry and barren of plantlife. The ground looksas if there has been no rain for quite some time. There are hills in thedistance that have a whitish color as the sun radiates on them.
The woman said,”They look like white elephants. “(343) White elephants are known to symbolizeunexpected gifts, which is certainly what the baby would be should they choosenot to have the abortion. The barrenness of the land refers the tame life–settling down and having the responsibilities of parenthood–that they wouldhave to start living when the baby came; a life that would be duller but wouldhave a purpose. The bead curtain represents the fact that once they choose aside, to have the baby or not, they cannot change their minds and then switchsides. Once the decision has been made, it will affect their lives forever. The man wants to have the abortion so they can continue to have the luxuriesthey enjoy now.
On the other hand, the woman is tired of the wilder life andwants the baby and to settle down. Works CitedHemingway, Ernest. “Hills Like White Elephants” Literature and the WritingProcess. Eds.
Elizabeth McMahan, Susan X Day, and Robert Funk. 4th ed. UpperSaddle River: Prentice, 1996. 343-46.English