Symbols Hills Like White Elephants

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Martin Chi
English 102
Essay #2
Professor Crawford
Hills like White Elephants
In “Hills Like White Elephants", Ernest Hemingway, does not reveal the source of conflict between the young man and young woman in the story, but it is implied that the conflict is centered on the decision of abortion. The goal of the man in the story is to convince the young woman to have an abortion procedure. The goal of the young woman is to do whatever it takes to make her partner happy and thus preserve their relationship. The three main symbols are the hills, the white elephants and the rail road station.

In the story, Jig looked at hills and said, “ They looked like white elephants.” The man replied, “ I’ve never seen one.” Then she replied, “No, you wouldn’t have.” (line 9-11). The hills symbolize the big obstacles that we must climb, but are not enormous mountains. This represents the fact that the girl’s baby is a major obstacle in her life, but ti is not the end of her life and she will make it through. Hills are also viewpoints to look out from, but also block the view for those in the valley. This represent how in the story Jig looks at the hills and sees opportunity, yuet at the same time the man looks at it and sees his vision of a positive and happy future blocked by the enormous obstacle of a child. Hills are also beautiful, natural and completely stationary. This shows that the baby will make them settle down and stay together. The author uses hills because pregnant mothers belly is a bit a hill itself. Being pregnant ties the mother down and makes her less mobile and more stationary.

The element of the white elephant is symbolic of the baby. A white elephant is a precious item that has a cost which perhaps surpasses it usefulness. Jig has received a gift which is, at this time in her life, useless to her. It is a gift that could be priceless to another. The white elephant also symbolizes the fact that the man said he has never seen white elephants before....
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