Hills Like White Elephants

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Olga Serzhantova
English 1A
Sean Kim
13 September 2010
Essay 1
Hills Like White Elephants
Everyday people make decisions that might have a big influence on their future lives. One can never say if this or that decision is right simply because there is no right or wrong. The choices that people make or believe in depend on their individual qualities and personal preferences. Therefore, what is right for one person might be totally wrong for the other. The only thing we shouldn’t forget is that once the decision is made there is no way back, once the action is done there is no way to change it. Ernest Hemingway, one of the most influential writers of the first half of the twentieth century, in his realistic story “Hills Like White Elephants” tried to depict and understand contradicting human nature while making a life choice. The story takes in the Ebro River valley of Spain, where an American man and his female companion Jig are waiting for a train and having drinks discussing "doing it." Obviously, by "doing it," they're referring to whether or not they should have an abortion. In order the readers to understand the core of the problem the author uses such powerful literary elements as setting and symbolism. The story takes place in a very short period of time and presents a dialogue between two main characters. It is very laconic, but yet tells a tale that is much bigger than itself. From the very first paragraph the author introduces the setting which is very intense. This atmosphere will surround the rest of the story and will help the readers to penetrate into the inner state of the main characters: The hills across the valley of the Ebro were long and white. On this side there was no shade and no trees and the station was between two lines of rails in the sun. […] The American and the girl with him sat at a table in the shade, outside the building. It was very hot and the express from Barcelona would come in forty minutes. It stopped at this...
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