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Hills Like White Elephants

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In Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants", he utilizes the audience in understanding the substance of his plot. He takes on a sense of truth by putting an intense amount of dialogue, thus giving a realistic type of writing. Through the usage of dialogue between the couple, it shows the depth of expectations. The audience must rely and fall back upon their own personal experience in order to interpret the conversation/plot. The correlation with nature plays into the language and the action of how the story flows. There is a definite split between the two different sides of the tracks. Basically, all that ties in with the hills represent life and that particular side of the tracks. It is a flash comparison of fertility versus barrenness by using language in description. Typical stereotype of the pensive, unsure female who has yet to step up and voice her opinions and speak her mind about her stance upon this pregnancy. Hemingway has truly taken on the modernist view. He completely takes out the third person narration and replaces the storytelling through dialogue. We are no longer aware of what is going on through the characters' minds and the emotions that overwhelm them. You no longer are sure of the characters' motives behind their actions and words. For the audience to an extent, we must be able to tell them apart through this alienation effect. There is a necessity to step back from he actual character in the play and be able to separate the actor from the character/protagonist in the plot. By segregating the two, the actor plays a much better role in the sense that it can create a different feel. The audience is forced to relate to the character in order to understand his purpose. This short story takes an objective point of view which creates a dramatic purpose with the lack of a narrating author. Since the author doesn't explore the characters' minds at all, this allows the reader to see the characters in their true setting.

In Ernest Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants", he uses imagery of the scenery to describe many aspects of the "American" and the "Girl", who is named Jig. The couple waits for a train somewhere between Madrid and Barcelona, where they are "at a junction in their lives" and do not have much time to decide their future. At this juncture, the man discusses with the girl the future of their lives, specifically pertaining to their unborn child, and he discusses the possibilities of the abortion. Throughout their conversation, Jig sporadically admires the "fertile" landscape. It is here where Hemingway uses imagery and vivid imagination to symbolize how Jig is undecided about the decision that the man has made pertaining to the abortion.

Hemingway initiates the story by describing the scenery. "On this side, there was no shade and no tress and the station was between two lines of rails in the sun" (Hemingway 1). This valley was structured into two sides. Their side was hot, dry, brown and having no trees, describing the infertile side, and the other side which contained, "fields of grain, the river, and tress". This side is the fertile side. These two areas are divided by two lines of rails. Because of these contrasting landscapes, we can infer that Jig is in the junction of two different decisions in her life. Also the repetition of number two is very important in this story. It symbolizes the two choices that the girl has; whether or not to have the baby.

Hemingway uses the rail (apparently going in opposing directions) as the path in which the couple must make, a decision point at which the couple must decide. Either having the abortion, or giving birth to the child. On the abortion side, Jig observes the brown, dry and arid country, meaning the couple would return to their "previous life" described by the infertility of the hills and continue on with their carefree lives. In contrast, the other side contains a whole new life, allowing for change and development for a more mature couple.

The term white elephant has several meanings; "A rare, expensive possession that is a financial burden to maintain", "Something of dubious or limited value", "An article, ornament, or household utensil no longer wanted by its owner", and "An endeavor or venture that proves to be a conspicuous failure." ( There is also such a thing as a "White Elephant Party", where each guest brings something of unwanted value and wraps it up. Each guest picks from the pile of gifts and then after opening them, decides if they want to keep it or trade it with someone else.

Hemingway uses the term "white elephant" as understand that the reader will initially view it as the American way: unwanted junk. However, in a "white elephant sale", someone's unwanted junk may be something that someone else wants. Hemingway uses this definition then as a way to represent something that was once of value to its owner, but has since lost its value. When Jig told the man about her pregnancy, her body then became a "white elephant" because she no longer could carry on the same type of relationship they had once shared; According to Jig, somewhere early one, she realizes that she is viewed herself and the baby as "white elephants", as seen through the man's eyes. He feels the child would require much effort without yielding any gain to the relationship. Later on we will find out that the man says he wants her and only her, no one else. "But I don't want anybody but you. I don't want any one else And I know it's

perfectly simple." (Hemingway 5) According to the man, the child will not help in the relationship, but be a "white elephant" and provide negativity.

Hemingway describes the hills as decisions that Jig and the man have to make according the fetus, but is also her feelings on the abortion itself. It is important to understand that all of the hills are like white elephants. To her, eventhough she has different views on different sides, both of the sides as white elephants. "They



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