In Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” the author gives you an odd conversation between two lovers. The lovers seem to be torn: the woman wants one thing and the man another. They seem to have been on vacation for quite some time and they are brought back to reality by something big. The lovers are in Spain waiting for their train to arrive, enjoying cold drinks and some beautiful hills that come up into the conversation a number of times. Through context in the story you find out that the couple is actually trying to decide on whether or not to keep their unborn child. The man wants her to get the operation, and the woman is trying to get him to see things another way. The lover’s conversation leaves without telling what the couple decided to do about the abortion. Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” shows the theme of what it means to talk and what it means to have a conversation. The author shows this theme by using names, motifs, and symbols.
Hemingway uses names as a way of defining the relationship and the theme. The American is the man in the relationship. And Jig is the nickname of the woman. When in Spain you realize how much the woman really is depending on the American. She does not speak the language and so he has to order all her drinks and communicate with the locals. Jig is Hemingway’s playful pick of a name for the woman seems to point towards the way they “dance” around their conversation. With many distractions, the scenery, the alcohol and the many changes of subject the couple seem to almost never start their conversation at all despite how important it is. It is also an example of theme, many distractions and small-talk.
Throughout the story Hemingway uses a motif of the hills that look like white elephants to show theme. Hemingway mentions these white elephants in the title, the scenery, and in the couple’s conversation. It was no accident that he did this because this... [continues]
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