10 October 2012
Human being if seen from a distance in their life would pretty much go through the simple life cycle. A person born into this world from their mother’s womb and it is a fact that every single person in the world came to this world because of their parents and not sent by the stork or an alien space ship. From there it would either be an instant death as an infant or they live and then die. With the population reaching 7 billion, the human race is indeed a simple being that reproduce without thinking. In “Hills like White Elephants” Ernest Hemingway gave us a glimpse of human are not that so simple creature after all. Although human being is seemingly simply a creature with one life cycle, they would often reach a rebirth state in which they will lose their innocence trough isolation in their life and later on, a relief. These steps that a person would go through can be seen in “Hills like White Elephant” also in both James Joyce’s “The Dead” and “Araby”.
Ernest Hemingway followed the ice berg theory and in which he use as a great advantage in creating his short stories. The “Hills like White Elephant” if read only once would be simply a conversation between a couple while waiting for their train to come by. Hemingway took us in as the costumer who was sitting beside them, probably also waiting for the train too. He made the audience as if they were just eavesdropping over the couple’s chat. What the audience might catch is a patch of topics disguised in the couple’s own wording of terms and then their brain started to fill-in-the-blanks from hints that the couple dropped. Under that simple chat over an alcohol beverages and the nature while waiting for their train, the couple have cover over something that would change their life and over some decision making that the audience not to realize. Something that is overly precious, yet a very burdening task to carry are often symbolized by the white elephant and the person who received this white elephant would often be in isolation. In Buddhism, the mother of Buddha had a dreamed about some young man riding a white elephant who then got sucked into her womb and later on she got pregnant with Buddha, a great gift. In Thailand, often time the king would gave the person that he disliked a white elephant, a burden to that person. In the opening of the story, it stated that, “The hills across the valley of the Ebro were long and white. On this side there was no shade and no trees”(36). What can be seen from this is that there’s a hint of isolation as the place have no tree and maybe in the middle of nowhere because it doesn’t have any name and only a train station building exist in the story. The place is isolated from the nature located on the other side of the valley. Another hint of isolation is when the couple stayed outside the building just like the flies that were being kept out by the beads in the doorway. The couple’s conversation included the word ‘operation’ and the white elephant that could be a symbol that ‘the girl’ is pregnant and that ‘the American’ wanted her to give up the baby trough an operation in which is such an unnatural process and was a very supported by the society. The beads in the doorway felt like it’s keeping them away from the society, just like how dry and wasteland like the place is unlike the place over the valley, “Across on the other side, were field of grain and trees along the banks of Ebro”(37).
The female in the story is called ‘the girl’ and nicknamed ‘jig’ by ‘the American’ man came to a realization that the man does not want what she wants and had to make a choice of leaving the man or staying with him as a tool just like what her name represent, a tool to measure alcohol drinks. When the girl wanted to try Anis del Toro, she does not want it anymore after the first taste because it tasted like liquorice. She then said that everything tastes like liquorice and that...
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