Summary of Hemingway's "The Hills Like White Elephants"

Topics: Ernest Hemingway, Train station, American novels Pages: 2 (436 words) Published: December 4, 2014
Module 1 Response

Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” is set in the Spanish country side. The opening scene introduces our two main characters, the American man, and “Jig”, as the girl will become known. The two are at a bar waiting for a train. The two are obviously a couple, and have been traveling together, for what has been an obvious period of time. The American does most of the talking, and like most Hemingway male characters, is domineering. The girl remarks that the “hills are white like elephants” symbolizing the elephant in the room so to speak. The American and the girl discuss an operation that the girl is about to have. It is obvious that the American is trying to play down the seriousness of the operation, and talk the girl into it. The girl, Jig, seems to be unsure of whether or not she wants to go through with the operation. In assessment, the operation would seem to be an abortion. The couple discusses how everything will be happy, and the way it was before after the operation, though the girl does not seem to believe that it will be. They drink beer the entire time they are waiting for the train, as if trying to avoid the conversation, or “elephant in the room”, so to speak. The American seems to become somewhat panicked at the girl’s wavering decision, and tries to talk her into the operation without that being apparent. At this point the girl asks if he will “please, please, please, please, please, please stop talking”, as if she can no longer bear the sound of his voice, and the topic of conversation. By the end of the story, the reader sees that the relationship seems to be over. The man is distant, thinking about the train, and the girl just wants him to be quiet and leave her alone. I truly enjoyed this story, and the way in which Hemingway told it. I knew by the second page that the couple was talking about an abortion, without actually openly saying it. I even discussed it with my husband, to make sure, that is what it...
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