English 1302, Section 2028 (8442)
2 March 2014
Hills Like White Elephants
In Ernest Hemingway’s, “Hills Like White Elephants,” a couple in a foreign country are debating the girl getting an abortion while drinking beer and waiting for a train at a train station. Throughout the short story written in Hemingway’s iceberg method, one can see how strongly each party feels about the procedure, and the difficulty the couple is facing throughout the bare essential dialogue. Through symbolism, repetition, and alliteration Hemingway’s illustrates how the lack of understanding between a couple in a relationship during a turning point, such as the loss of a wanted child in a abortion, can alienate one from the other half of the couple.
While the American man has one way of thinking, it is quite clear the girl has a complete different train of thought on the matter of her getting an abortion, and neither party seems to be able to get the other party to understanding why their way of thinking is correct. Hemingway demonstrates the stark difference between the couple by showing one how the girl has “waited so long for” the child and the American man feels “it’s the only thing that’s made us unhappy.” The girl tries to get the American man to understand her stance on the issue by declaring, “once they take it away, you never get it back,” but the man still is of the mind that the procedure is “perfectly simple.”
While the girl does not want to lose her child, the American man is hoping through gentle pushing, he can persuade the girl to do what he wants. Hemingway illustrates the American man’s attitude towards the main topic through symbolism and diction. When the American man “looked up the track but did not see any train” after he “picked up the two heavy bags,” one could infer the meaning of the tracks to be the current situation of the couple, never meeting in the middle on the subject while the bag represent the heavy topic. The