21 Feb. 2013
Symbolism in Hills Like White Elephants
Ernest Hemingway uses numerous symbols in his short story “Hills like White Elephants.” There are various objects and images used that convey feelings and emotions that are not clarified in words. By doing this, the reader must go through and figure out how the symbols suggest the overall theme of the story. Some of the most important symbols in the story are the hills, the scenery, white elephants, the railroad, and the number two. By analyzing these symbols Hemingway has used in the story, readers can find meaning behind the dialogue, intentions, and emotions of the American and his girl Jig and determine that they are struggling with a decision of whether or not Jig will get an abortion. Hemingway uses the abortion, as well as the various symbolisms, throughout the story to expose the theme to the readers, which is making choices and decisions in life. One of the most obvious representations of the hills would be that they look like the stomach of a pregnant woman. Hills are no small thing. Pregnancy is also no small thing. Whatever decision Jig makes, it will be something she will never forget and will affect the rest of her life. Hills also symbolize an obstacle presented in the way. For both Jig and the American, the obstacle is the baby. For Jig, this obstacle is not one too big that is cannot be fought through and overcome. For the American though, the hills are an obstacle he cannot overcome. The thought of having a child is something he cannot comprehend. When faced with the choice of manning up and being a father or getting an abortion, the American decides he wants to take the easy way out. In the story, Hemingway describes two very different sceneries. On one side of the tracks, the land was dry and barren. There were no trees, and it was brown and dry. The other side was described as having fields of grain and trees that ran along the Ebro River....
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