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A Hills Like White Elephants English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1019 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Hills Like White Elephants. Ernest Hemingway story “Hills Like White Elephants,” has plenty of symbolism throughout the story. Symbolisms are physical things that are important and stands for something else. In this story, the symbols are the hills, white elephants, railroad tracks, and the felt pads. Hemingway uses these symbols to produce the theme of the story. The theme is about how change will bring happiness for Jig by having the baby while the man doesn’t see what the future holds for him if Jig has the baby and he tries to persuade her to go with an abortion

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In the beginning of the story, the American and the girl, Jig, are at the rail station waiting for a train to go to Madrid. While waiting for the train the two sit at a table at the bar having some drinks. “The woman brought two glasses of beer and two felt pads. She put the felt pads and the beer glasses on the table” (294). Felt pads will be a symbol of protection from pregnancy. In the quoted source, the waiter didn’t put the glasses on top of pads indicating that there weren’t that much protection prior to coming to the train station. That’s when the two started talking about abortion.

They started to have an intense conversation on what she was going to do with the baby. The man wants her to get an abortion while she doesn’t. He stated that “you don’t have to be afraid. I’ve known lots of people that have done it but if you don’t want to you don’t have to. I wouldn’t have you do it if you didn’t want to. But I know it’s perfectly simple” (295). In that quote, the American trying to persuade the girl, Jig, into having an abortion but using different words instead of just saying the real fact. Hemingway made the man more of a second guesser who tries to find the easy way out in life situations; in this case the abortion is his choice. While on other hands Jig thinks of it as an experience in life way she can feel more of a women. As the conversation went on tension grew between them causing the man to persuade more. The man said “I don’t care anything about it. I’ll scream, the girl said” (297). His thinking that she’s going to have this child so he starts to panic. “He pick up the two heavy bags and carried them around the station to the other tracks. He looked up the tracks but could not see the train. Coming back, he walked through the barroom, where people waiting for the train were drinking. He drank an Anis at the bar and looked at the people. They were all waiting reasonably for the train” (297). The man had to leave the table because he was having trouble with the situation he was in. As the man drank that beer in the bar, Hemingway created the character anxious other than being patience as the other characters are acting around him. The man is hoping on that while he was gone moving the bags that the situation would have been solved. So he returns an asks “Do you feel better? I feel fine, she said. There’s nothing wrong with me. I feel fine” (297). He finds out that nothing change in his time past.

While the two are drinking, Jig looks out at the hills and says “they look like white elephants” (294). The man stated “I’ve never seen one” (294), Jig responds “no, you wouldn’t have” (294). Jig sees the white elephants as the baby and the man doesn’t see them in the shadows of the hills because he doesn’t want her to have it and goes with the abortion. The man says “it’s perfectly simple” (295), meaning by having an abortion will bring happiness and things would go back to normal for us but Jig thinks of having this baby is a beautiful fact of life.

Jig has many obstacles in her life. Hemingway uses the hills to symbolize those obstacles. The hills represent the obstacles by being big and people would have to climb their way through them to maneuver through the obstacle. In this story, Jig biggest obstacle is the baby. She has to make a decision on if she willing to keep the baby or not. The hills are viewpoints to look at. Jig sees the hills as an opportunity to keep the baby bringing a new experience in her life while the man view is blocked by the baby because he doesn’t want to grow up so he looking for an easy way out of not taking care of a child.

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The hills are a stationary object which represents that when having a baby the parents would have to settled down to take care of their child and also that being pregnant isn’t easy to overcome. Jig says “we could have all this and we could have everything and every day we make it more impossible” (296). This is where she sees opportunity. She thinking about a new life for her and having a newborn baby in her life. Jig always wanted change. That’s why the two are having different drinks all the time and not having the same thing over and over again. Jig doesn’t like doing things over and over again. She wants to try new things and that’s how by having a baby she will experience change in her life.

At the station, there were two railroads. Those railroads symbolize as being change of life. The two railroads were parallel to each other for being direction on what path the two will decide on having the baby or not to have. It’s a time of crisis for them because they have to make a decision fast. They can’t stay in the station forever; they have to get to Madrid. Towards the end, the man “picked up the two heavy bags and carried them around the station to the other tracks” (297). This referring to on the direction the two will be going. “Do you feel better? He ask. I feel fine, she said there’s nothing wrong with me. I feel fine” (297). Jig didn’t make her decision yet forcing the man hope of moving on with his life delayed until she makes a decision.


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