Hills Like White Elephants Commentary
Hills Like White Elephants tells the story of a woman, Jig, and a man known only as the American, sitting in a train station. Though the story is brief, it has much to say. When reading the story for the first time its full effect doesn’t set in. By taking a closer look and rereading the story, a bigger situation is revealed other than what seems to be a dull conversation. Jig is pregnant and the American man is pressuring her into having an abortion. The little details in the story, some which may slip by you, symbolize the man and woman's situation.
The story takes place in a train station in Spain. The whole story is set around Jig and the American man waiting on the train to arrive. But it isn’t really the train they are waiting on, its answers. They are stuck at a crossroad like a train. Which direction to go? Which train tracks to go down? In other words which path do they choose for their future? Should she keep the baby or should she give in to the man’s pressuring. At the end of the story the American man “looked up the tracks but could not see the train.” That could be interpreted as the man not seeing what his future holds. It also means that he doesn’t know when the couple’s answers will come and be solved if they ever are. Although the train symbolizes the choice in a path it also symbolizes time. “the express from Barcelona would come in forty minutes”. Time moves quickly through the story because what seems to be a short conversation takes up most of the time they had before the train was to arrive. By the end of the story there is only 5 minutes until the train comes. The train like Jig and the man’s life is moving rather quickly. The train suggests that they don’t have much time to decide on what they’re going to do about the baby.
Jig compares the hills that surround the train station to white elephants. “They look like white elephants she said.” In response the man says “I’ve never seen one.” In...
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