Symbolism of Hills with White Elephants

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The Symbolism of Landscapes in “Hills Like White Elephants”
Readers engaging in Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” for their first time understand it as a normal conversation between a couple who is waiting for a train, but in reality it is a melodramatic conversation between the two about having a abortion and going their separate ways. Ernest Hemingway’s short story “Hills like White Elephants” begins with a drawn out depiction of the story’s setting in a train station bounded by hills, trees, and fields in the valleys of Spain. A gentleman identified modestly as the American and his girlfriend convene at a table external to the train station, anticipating a train to Madrid. Hemingway’s use of landscape such as, the train station and the white clouds connects vividly to the story’s ultimate meaning.

Hemingway sets “Hills Like White Elephants” at a railway station to emphasize the idea that the relationship amongst the American man and the girl is at an intersection. The argument between the American and the girlfriend provides a crossroad for the couple on what the right action is in their situation. Introduced in the interior of an uninhabited valley, the railway is not a concluding endpoint but purely a pausing point between Barcelona and Madrid. Tourists, including the American and the girl, must consequently decide where their next destination is and, in Hemingway’s story, whether or not to go with each other and remain in their relationship.

In the description of the landscape Hemingway made the choice to use hills instead of something such as, mountains, because a pregnant woman’s stomach resembles a hill itself. Hills represent the idea that there are obstacles throughout life, but they are not massive mountains. This idea represents the theory that the girl’s pregnancy is a main setback in her existence, but overall it does not terminate her life and she will make it through. In Hemingway’s short story the narrator recalls, “The...
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