Early life Hemingway was the second child and first son born to Clarence and Grace Hemingway.
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. Readers must come to their own conclusions based on the dialogue. This has led to varying interpretations of the story. One point of debate is whether or not the woman decides to get an abortion.
Critics like Stanley Renner assert that the details in the story imply that the woman decides to keep the baby: Will they break up or stay together?
There is no universal consensus because of the nature of the story; the reader is simply not given much information.
Symbolism[ edit ] The description of the valley of Ebroin the opening paragraph, is often seen as having deeper meanings: She explains the drink "was alluring not only because of its narcotic effects but also because of its reputation as an aphrodisiac.
She postulates that "the addictive quality of the drink…is meant to emphasize the addictive nature of the couple's lifestyle…It is an empty, meaningless existence that revolves around traveling, sex, drinking, looking at things, and having pointless conversations about these things".
Like the man and woman's relationship, it is alluring at first, but "It becomes a destroyer of the child, who is aborted; a destroyer of the girl, who endures the physical and emotional pain of aborting the child she wants; and a destroyer of the couple's relationship".
From the outset of the story, the contentious nature of the couple's conversation indicates resentment and unease. Some critics have written that the dialogue is a distillation of the contrasts between stereotypical male and female relationship roles: She also asks his permission to order a drink.
Throughout the story, the woman is distant; the American is rational. Though the immediate problem is the unwanted pregnancy, the experience has revealed that the relationship is a shallow one. While most critics have espoused relatively straightforward interpretations of the dialogue, a few have argued for alternate scenarios.
The anti-feminist perspective emphasizes the notion that the man dominates the woman in the story, and she ultimately succumbs to his will by getting the abortion.
Frederick Busch asserts that the woman "'buries her way of seeing as she will bury her child.The Holy Bible: King James Version. Psalms Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. A summary of Themes in Ernest Hemingway's Hills Like White Elephants.
Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of Hills Like White Elephants and what it means. Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans.
In William Faulkner's strange and startling short story 'A Rose for Emily,' the reader is introduced to one of literature's most talked-about. - Symbolism in Hemingway’s Story ‘Hills like White Elephants’ ‘Hills Like White Elephants’ is a short story authored by Ernest Hemingway about an American and a girl named Jig.
In the story, the two are sitting in a train station waiting for the train to Madrid. In "Hills Like White Elephants," though, Hemingway completely removes himself from the story. Readers are never aware of an author's voice behind the story.
Compare this narrative technique to the traditional nineteenth-century method of telling a story. This page argues the case against bullfighting in a new and distinctive way.