Topic: discuss the role of setting as symbolic of the story in “Hills like White Elephant”
The different symbols in “Hills Like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemmingway are used to convey the different opinions, feelings and emotions of the characters and meaning of the story at hand. The symbolic devices and setting are used to effectively communicate the conflicts and obstacles that the two individuals are having.
“Hills Like White Elephants” opens with this unusual couple drinking beer, at a train station located at a junction at which their entire lives are revealed and unfolded. At this station the train tracks run parallel yet never meeting. The station where the couple is waiting is in a valley bisected by two different landscapes which the woman makes remarks about. One side is brown and dry with no trees while the other side has fields full of grains with the river and trees.
The story opens with its first apparent imagery of the couple ordering beer while waiting for the train. As the man and woman begin their dialogue, the woman makes remarks about the distant hills which the train station is situated between. As they continue talking it becomes known that the woman is pregnant, and the man wants her to have an abortion. “What should we drink?” the girl asks. She has taken off her hat and put it on the table.” It’s pretty hot ,” the man say. “ Let’s drink beer”.………..”I wanted to try this new drink. That’s all we do, isn’t it- look at things and try new drinks.” the woman comments. The drinking of the beer represents the couple’s unusual recreational routine of hanging out together and not really having a serious relationship. This clearly shows that the girl is tired of doing the same thing and wants a chance of looking forward to something new, and her dissatisfaction with the relationship as a whole. Her intention at the present time is to raise this baby and have a family with him.
The hills are the central viewpoint of the story and...
References: Kirszner, Laurie G., and Stephen R. Mandell. Eds. (2009) Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing. 7th ed. Boston: Wadsworth.
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