Hills Like White Elephants

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 78
  • Published : December 3, 2011
Open Document
Text Preview
“Hills Like White Elephants”
The text “ Hills like white elephants” under analysis comes from the book, the collection of short stories “Men Without Women “(1927) written by American author Ernest Hemingway. “Men Without Women” was Hemingway's second book of short stories. It was published in October 1927 with a first print-run of approximately 7600 copies. The author is famous for his distinctive writing style, characterized by economy and understatement, influenced 20th-century fiction. Ernest Hemingway produced most of his works between the mid-1920s and the mid-1950s. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. Hemingway's fiction was successful because the characters he presented exhibited authenticity that resonated with his audience. Many of his works are classics of American literature. He published seven novels, six short story collections, and two non-fiction works during his lifetime; a further three novels, four collections of short stories, and three non-fiction works were published posthumously. The couple in the middle of the story is making a radical decision of the problem where there are only two choices, two directions. They face this problem and we can observe their conversation and just imagine the result of this discussion because the story is unfinished. The text deals with the idea of abortion. Though the word “abortion” is nowhere in the story, it is doubtlessly understood through Hemingway’s powerful use of two literary elements: setting and symbolism. The main characters:

The man (referred to only as "the American") and his female companion, named Jig. (there is a deep sense that we don’t know a real name of this man as though the author generalizes the youth of that time). The minor characters:

The barmaid.
The characters are flat (we don’t know the end of this story), described in an indirect way (as the reader has to define them only by their actions and dialogues). The conflict is internal as Jig is going to have a little baby so in theory she can change her life, her lifestyle and have a happy family. But instead of this she chooses the dangerous operation with a purpose to save the relations (that are only the illusion of relations), save her life, full of travelling, drinks and material pleasure and not to be a mother and give a birth to a new human. This is in fact is external conflict of society in which people have such a way of life, and actually this is closely related with the term “Lost Generation”. The plot is simple, open and centres around 2 people’s relations and their problem. The exposition:

presented by the description of the place. We may conclude that the story takes place at a train station in the Ebro River valley of Spain. The year is not given, but is almost certainly contemporary to the composition (1920s). This particular day is oppressively hot and dry, and the scenery in the valley is barren and ugly for the most part. We get acquainted with the characters of the story. The setting is described as follows: “..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 junction for two minutes and went to Madrid…” The complication of the text:

The couple is in the middle of making a drastic decision where there are only two choices, two directions, just like the two rail lines that pass by the station. The openness and loneliness around the railroad station imply that there is no way to back out of the problem at hand and that the man and the girl must address it now. The heat turns the scene into a virtual teakettle, boiling and screaming under pressure. The landscape that encompasses the station plays a fundamental role in the conflict of the story through its extensive...
tracking img