Synopsis[ edit ] The story focuses on a conversation between an American man and a young woman, described as a "girl," at a Spanish train station while waiting for a train to Madrid. The girl compares the nearby hills to white elephants. The pair indirectly discuss an "operation" that the man wants the girl to have, which is implied to be an abortion. Analysis[ edit ] There is little context or background information about the characters.
The setting of the story is important because it acts as symbolism for where both protagonists are in life. They are at a crossroads, unsure of which direction to take as can be seen through the conversation they have.
Though the reader never fully knows what the American and Jig are talking about simple operationit is widely accepted by critics that both are discussing whether or not Jig should have an abortion.
It is obvious to the reader that the American thinks Jig should have an abortion, while she remains unsure sense of conflict between both characters. Hemingway uses symbolism to highlight to the reader the possibility that Jig may be pregnant or is pregnant and has to make a decision.
On one side of the landscape there are no trees barren and no shade while on the other side there are fields of grain and trees along the banks of the River Ebro fertile ground.
Also the two sets of train lines that the narrator describes to the reader at the beginning of the story act as symbolism to suggest to the reader that there are two ways that Jig can go.
She can agree to have the abortion which is what the American wants or she can decide that she wants to keep the baby. An example of this reliance is when they order drinks.
However by the end of the story the reader is not as sure as to whether Jig still needs the American. There is also a sense that the relationship between Jig and the American may have run its course, a point that can be seen at the end of the story when the American is at the bar in the train station having a drink while Jig remains sitting down at the table.
They are separated from each other.
There is also a sense of confinement in the story, particularly with the American. He believes that a child would change the relationship.
A child would restrict the American from living the life that he wants to live. It is never certain as to whether Jig will agree to have an abortion, though there is the sense that she is no longer reliant on the American.
She realises that the relationship may have come to an end and that it is time to move on and live her life without the American. The idea that she is stronger now than she was at the beginning of the story can be seen in the way she asks the American to stop talking end communication.
It is as if she has heard all she needs to hear and her mind is made up about the child and the path the relationship is taking. However her decision is not made clear to the reader.
What is clear to the reader at the end of the story is that the American is using logic to try and persuade Jig to have an abortion no child means they can continue living as they have been while Jig knows that even if she does not have the child things will not be the same with the American.
Cite Post McManus, Dermot. The Sitting Bee, 3 Jan.Once upon a time, there lived a herd of eighty thousand elephants at the bottom of the majestic Himalayas. Their leader was a magnificent and rare white elephant who was an extremely kind-hearten soul. “Hills Like White Elephants” opens with a long description of the story’s setting in a train station surrounded by hills, fields, and trees in a valley in Spain.
A man known simply as the American and his girlfriend sit at a table outside . Plot Overview “Hills Like White Elephants” opens with a long description of the story’s setting in a train station surrounded by hills, fields, and trees in a valley in Spain. A story written almost entirely in dialogue, "Hills Like White Elephants" is an example of Ernest Hemingway's objective and concise prose that presents an unstated tension, a style known as The.
Hills Like White Elephants Lyrics The hills across the valley of the Ebro were long and white. On this side there was no shade and no trees and the station was between two lines of rails in the sun.
Hills like White Elephants, short story by Ernest Hemingway, published in in the periodical transition and later that year in the collection Men Without Women. The themes of this sparsely written vignette about an American couple waiting for a train in Spain are almost entirely implicit.