Hills Like White Elephants: Critical Analysis Ernest Essay

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Hills Like White Elephants": Critical Analysis

Ernest Hemingway's "Hills like White Elephants" is an intriguing story of two individuals who have come to a difficult conversation. Hemingway captures this conversation between man and woman about a pending abortion but never actually revealing what they are talking about, only subtly alluding to the issue throughout the conversation. The context for the conversation is at a bar in a rather desolate place in a station where individuals simply pass through. The setting sets up the context of how the story is reflective of the dialogue of between the man and the woman- it seems like a pass through conversation and it is a conversation that needs to happen to reach the final destination. The man tells Jig that it is a "real simple operation" and that it is just to "let the air in" and that it's "all natural" (Hemingway). These words along with the general attitude and the aura that Jig, the main female character in this text, exudes throughout the entire text. The setting for the text takes place in the bar setting and alcohol seems be apart of the conversation as well, and helps this delicate dialogue to come about. A large part of the first part of their conversation is founded around alcohol and it initially brings them together and seems like a common agent between them, it also serves as an agent that brings them to talk about the issue between them, that of the abortion.
By the end of their conversation, or at the end of the text, the girl drinks alone at the table and the guy drinks alone at the bar potentially indicating that the two are separated and may go their separate ways.

There are several symbols that emerge from Hemingway's text including that of the white elephant that appears in the title of his book. The white elephant has come to symbolize throughout the conversation between the man and woman something that neither really wants, and in this particular story it is the unborn baby of the girl. Throughout the conversation though, the girl mentions the elephants- first, at the beginning saying that the "hills look like white elephants" (Hemingway). Then, she later takes back her comment that the hills look like white elephants potentially indicating that she wants to keep the baby and then ultimately, she reveals that the hills only looked like white elephants at first glance, and the hills are quite lovely (Hemingway). Ultimately, it seems that the unborn baby is….....

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