Formalistic Analysis of Hills Like White Elephants

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In an analysis of the story “Hills like white elephants” by Ernest Hemmingway, one is forced to take a deep look at the hidden meanings embedded in the story. Considering the point of view, the significance of the location and its relevance to the story, the structure of the text, the symbolic meaning of the two landscapes and the title of the story, the entrails of the story are exposed.

Hemmingway’s story is written in an objective or dramatic point of view. The story is told primarily through dialogue. The narrator has emotionally distanced himself from the characters, and the true feelings and opinions of the characters are revealed in little clues as the story progresses. The narrator acts solely as a reporter of the chain of events as they occur. No personal inflection is implied. This allows the reader to formulate their own conclusions. Also I believe at the time, the topic of abortion may still have been taboo and sensitive, and this was Hemmingway’s clever device of dealing with a societal issue in a nontraditional way.

The structure of the text primarily takes the form of a dialogue. This is in stark contrast with the characters inability to communicate effectively. The man has his own agenda planned and tries forcefully to convince Jig of accepting his way of dealing with the conflict. Jig is trying to access the situation by asking the man if they will be alright as a couple after the abortion, “everything will be fine,” and end up answering her own question, “I’ll do it and everything will be fine.” Due to his lack of desire to go through with any other plan than his own, he forces her to deny her own desires and she find her present situation to be unsure at best. The man however has made up his mind and is determined to make up her mind for her as well, but he uses subtlety, “I don't want you to do it if you don't really want to.” He then contradicts himself and betrays his true feelings when he says, “But you've got to realize..." they are...
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