Hills Like White Elephants Essay

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In the story “Hills like White Elephants” the vague dialogue conveys an allusive tone, in order to be represented correctly the author puts more emphasis in the character’s interaction with the setting. The setting is at a stopping point before their final destination. The dialogue mainly transpires throughout between the Girl and the American. This story is based around a vague dialogue, but is filled with the observations of the setting in order to express the pressure, significance, and opinions upon the subject at hand. In order grasp these messages, the reader interprets through the vivid imagery that is depicted by the author. The style of writing conveys this picture with an intended amount of clarity to leave the rest up to the reader to elucidate. This clarification is necessary in order for the reader to truly grasp the decision at hand and the weight of it as well. A metaphorical aspect of the setting is the “Elephant in the Room [2]”. This implies that there is a subject that no one truly wants to discuss, and is left there to fester within the subconscious of these two characters until they have finally reached their decision. Another extended metaphor throughout the story is “…Like White Elephants”. This symbol can be interpreted as a great gift given to a person, but it is also a heavy burden that most would not desire. At this time they are having the discussion on whether or not to have an “Operation”. There are four main aspects of the setting that reflect upon the tone. The first are the hills mentioned in the beginning of the story. The second is the isolation between the two characters within the train station, and this is mainly because of it’s opposition to the tone, The first part of the setting that is mentioned is the hills along the Ebro Valley that from their perspective has no shade or trees. The absence of shade represents the blatant manner of how the American goes about convincing the girl in this story. Over and over again he promises happiness if she agrees. The trees represent life she is considering having. The absence of shade also shows why there is an absence of trees. As the “sun” overwhelms the “trees” they start to wither away. For example, later in the story as another form of persuasion he says “I don’t want you to do it if you feel that way [1]” in order to coax her in to making the decision he wishes for without making it seem that he had any influence with it. This displays the American’s true intention to rid Jig and himself of the baby. The lack of shade may also symbolize the lack of thought the girl goes through for the American’s suggestions. For example, the girl does not speak Spanish and therefore relies on him in order to get her a drink, and after that she also asks him if a drink is good with water claiming that she couldn’t decide this on her own. Her dependency on the American in these situations indicates how reliant she is on him. This is an example of why she is so incapable of making such heavy decision. The second significant aspect of the setting is the Train station. The statement “the station was between two lines of rails in the sun. [3]” this has two significant observations. The first is the fact that the station is between two lines. This means that the conversation and the two’s relationship is at a “Stop” or a crossroad. At this point they are to make an important decision about whether or not to keep the baby. In this story you’ll notice the dialogue of the girl sounds somewhat ambivalent due to the way her decision sways back and forth. This is a prime example of why. What she sees on that side ultimately depicts the choice she is about to make. For example; in the story the reader may notice that there are “no trees” along the hillside. Later in the story the American is still busy trying to convince and then she gets up and she walks to the other side of the station she notices fields of prospering vegetation full of life alongside a flowing river...
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