Hills Like White Elephants Analysis

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"The Hills Like White Elephants" by Ernest Hemingway is a short story about an American man and a girl named Jig. In the story the two are sitting in a rail station waiting for the train to Madrid. While they are waiting, they have an intense, ongoing discussion over whether or not Jig will get an abortion. At the end of the story, the train is about to arrive and the man carries the baggage to the tracks as they prepare to depart. The ending of the story leaves unclear the outcome of her decision. She says, "I feel fine" at the end of the story-- her happiness is a central theme of the story, but we are left wondering if she went through with the operation. Of the many symbols from the story, the main three are the hills, white elephants, and the railroad station. Hemingway uses these elements to develop the theme of the story. The theme is about how Jig sees the possibility of keeping her child and having a happy life, while the man fails to see the possibilities and works to persuade her to go through with the abortion. In the story, Jig looked at the hills and said, "They look like white elephants." The man replied, "I've never seen one." Then she replied, "No, you wouldn't have." The hills symbolize big obstacles that we must climb, but they are not enormous mountains. This represents the fact that the girl's baby is a major obstacle in her life, but it is not the end of her life and she will make it through. Hills also are viewpoints to look out from, but also block the view for those who dwell in the valley. This represents how in the story Jig looks at the hills and sees opportunity, yet at the same time the man looks at the hills and sees nothing-- his vision of a positive and happy future is blocked by the enormous obstacle of the child. Hills are beautiful, natural and completely stationery. In other words, they have always been in the same place, and they will always be that way-- that's just the way it is. This shows how settling down would be a...
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