Hills Like White Elephants

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HILLS LIKE WHITE ELEPHANTS

Hills Like White Elephants

Abstract
The Hills like White Elephants is primary a conversation between the American man and his girlfriend, neither of the speakers truely communicates with the other, highlighting the rift between the two. Both talk, but neither listens or understands the others point of view. Frustrated the man will say almost anything to convince his girlfriend to have the operation, which although never mentioned by name, is understood to be an abortion.

Hills Like White Elephants
The short story “Hills Like White Elephants,” by Ernest Hemingway, is about a young couple and the polemic issue 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. From the first paragraph the setting immediately introduces the tense atmosphere that will surround the rest of the story. The story takes place in Spain in the late 1920’s. 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 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 symbolism. When...
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