Ernest Hemingways Hills Like White Elephants Analysis

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Jazlyn Ross

Professor Szpila

English 110

12 July 2012

Analysis of Hills like White elephants
In Hills like White elephants by Ernest Hemingway it’s not about what is on the page it’s about what not actually on the page. What I mean by this is in this short story in order to fully comprehend what is truly going on you must read between the lines. The crazy thing about reading between the lines is the whole story is in dialogue, and the short story is about what it not said. The whole story is between two characters having a conversation, within the conversation they use subliminal key words like “operation” and “Hills” to show you there is a deeper meaning to their conversation. Reading between the dialogue starts at the very beginning before the text even begins, reading between the lines starts with the title. Hills like white elephants, what does that mean? You can look at hill as though you never know what it on the other side of the hill; you never know exactly what is going to happen. The two characters are at a point in their lives where they do not know what is going to happen. White elephants are seen as unwanted, a burden, expensive. Well if you were to look at them from this point of view the two characters are at a point where something unwanted is happening and they do not know what exactly is going to happen. Right at the beginning of the book we start off with a story behind a story.

When the story begins, you would think that it was just about two people. A man and a girl waiting for a train having drinks and conversation, however, there is a deeper meaning to this conversation than there is said. “Yes” said the girl “everything tastes of licorice. Especially all the things you’ve waited so long for, like absinthe” “oh, cut it out "

Initially reading you think well the girl is just simply deciding between watered down alcohol or to not water it down. However it is not what is said on the page it is what is behind the text. The girl turns to the man so he can tell her what to do; she states well I don’t know if I want it watered down. When the women hands them the drink the girl sips it and says it tastes like licorice. The man mocks her by telling her everything tastes like candy to her. The way the girl thinks everything taste like candy shows how young she is her taste buds have not fully developed. It is like when we are little kids and we only like cheese pizza because any type of topping looks nasty and we won’t try it but as we grow older we are open to new things and everything begins to taste different. The girl is still young she isn’t ready for alcohol as she says “yes” she also says “everything tastes of licorice. Especially all the things you’ve waited so long for, like absinthe”they begin to speak about an operation. He explains that throughout the whole operation he will be there for her. In the short story they never say what this operation is, but it is not about what is on the page it’s about what’s behind the meaning of the text. ‘It’s really an awfully simple operation, Jig,’ the man said. ‘It’s not really an operation at all.’(107.42)

The quote starts with “this is an awfully simple operation” what is the operation, they never say until they continue to say it’s not really an operation at all, the girl looked at the ground the table legs rested on. The Girl does not say anything to him when he suggests how simple the operation is. Then he continues on to say ‘I know you wouldn’t mind it, Jig. It’s really not anything. It’s just to let the air in.’ this is where the real text analysis begins, the operation where it is not simply an operation at all, all she has to do is let the air in, when you connect this back to the girl one line before looking down at the ground where the table legs rested on, all she had to do was let the air in where the table legs had rested on. You begin thinking what operation could this girl be getting. The talk of the...
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