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Theme and narrative in Ernest Hemingway's short story "Hills Like White Elephants"

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Kathleen Colligan Aron Reyes English 1B February 5, 2003 Ernest Hemingway's short story "Hills Like White Elephants" contains love, anger, and frustration. In "Hills Like White Elephants" we have two main characters a woman named Jig, and an unnamed American man. The two are apparently lovers. While we don't know how long they have been romantically involved, we do know that Jig is pregnant, and that the man wants her to have an abortion. The story is set in Spain's Ebro Valley at a train station. The train station is near a river looking on barren hills. Because the hills have no vegetation they appear to be white. ...read more.


Next Jig becomes so frustrated that she asks the man to "please, please, please, please, please, please, please stop talking?" As we come to the end of the story Jig agrees however, the animosity continues between the two. In the end they do stop talking about it because the train that they were waiting for is coming. In the end of the story we leave with Jig telling the man that she will have the abortion, and that "There is nothing wrong with me. I feel fine." Our conflict in this short story is a man vs. woman situation. The man wants Jig to have an abortion, but she is not comfortable with that. ...read more.


This story is full of symbolism; the "Hills Like White Elephants" symbolize the festering problem in their lives. You see the White Elephant is a priceless gift from the emperor, he would give a white elephant to people that he did not like. White elephants cost so much to take care of that it ruined people. However, white elephants were worth very much it could not be sold, and could not be killed, therefore the person receiving the gift must bare the burden or the financial costs of the elephant's care. Additionally the man symbolizes the white elephant because he is selfish and only looks out for his own well-being. Lastly the hills symbolize sterility, which can happen from abortions, and the river symbolizes fertility and life. ...read more.

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