Some of the themes used in this story includes the coming of age, psychological manipulation in a sense that he attempts to manipulate Jig into having the abortion by presenting the operation as a simple procedure that is in her best interests. The dynamics of the romantic relationship and it's metamorphosis into a family is another theme.
When it comes to symbolism, this story has plenty of it. One of the main symbolism in the story is when Jig stares at the hills and comments on them. She says they look like white elephants. The phrase "Hills Like White Elephants" is symbolic of the pregnant Jigs belly. It's also symbolic because the American views the couple's unborn child as an approaching obstacle just like a hill. Another piece of symbolism includes the train tracks form a dividing line between the barren expanse of land stretching toward the hills on one side and the green, fertile farmland on the other, symbolizing the choice faced by each of the main characters and their differing interpretations of the dilemma of pregnancy. Finally, her name Jig, is symbolic because jig is another word for a whiskey measurer, which is a tool. It's symbolic because the American male thinks of her as more of a tool than a person with feelings and values.