“Hills Like White Elephants” extracted from the 1927 collection Men and Women is one of the majorities of famous American short stories yet, by one of America’s most prominent authors, Ernest Hemingway, who secured the Pulitzer award for imaginary tale in 1953 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954. Hemingway is well thought-out as one of the great modernizers in 20th-century imaginary stories. “Hills like White Elephants” is an exceptional short story concerning a pair of lovers at a crisis point in their lives. As it happens in such situations, all comes to a head in a free consign. The raconteur reports on their dialogue. The characters do not ever especially say what they are in conflict about, and as the reader, an individual must understand what they are discussing. It is moderately a fictitious real trick and one that assisted boost Hemingway to literary reputation, while motivating generations of writers to get nearer. The plot outlines how people approach a think situation in an effort to come up with a viable solution amidst arguments and differing points of view.
Hemingway utilizes his characters to depict differing opinions regarding the contentious issue in the story. Throughout the story, the American acts according to Hemingway’s unyieldingcommencement of masculinity. Rankin (18-20) observes that Hemingway depicts the American as a jagged man’s man—well informed, worldly, and always in direct control of himself and the circumstances at hand. Even when irritated or perplexed, he maintains his calmness and feigns unresponsiveness, such that the moment he tells the girl he does notheedwhether she has the operation. The manformerly avoids a debateon their problems, but whilepressured; he deals with them head on by oversimplifying the process and uncompromisinglyapproaching her to have it. The thought about himself being the more level-headed of the two, he supports the girl and fails to grant the consideration and indulgent she needs throughout the crisis. Categorically, he seems to classify more with the other commuters “waiting practically” at the station than with his girlfriend towards the ending of the story, which proposes that both of them go their different ways.
Despite the fact that “Hills like White Elephants” is principally a discussionamid the American man and his girlfriend, no one of the speakers truthfully converses with the other, stressing the rift concerning the two. According to Urgo (70), bothhave a discussion, but neither pays attention or realize the other’s point of perception. When frustrated and conciliated, the American man says almost everything to persuade his girlfriend to have the operation, which, even though never declared by name, is perceived to be an abortion. By tellingher, he loves her, for example, and that everything between them will resume to normal. The girl, in the meantime, waffles irresolutely, at one point conceding that she will have the abortion just to shut him up.
She says “But if I do it, then it will be nice again if I say things are like white elephants, and you’ll like it?” (Charters477) an agreement that maybe she will consider having the operation because the American does not agree with her about keeping her baby. In fact, the girl’s epithet, “Jig,” subtly shows that the two characters purelyjazz around each other and the matter at hand exclusive of ever saying anything significant. The girl’s incapability to speak Spanish with the bartender, furthermore, not only illustrates her reliance on the American but also the complexityshe has explainingherself others.
Both the American man and the girl drink alcohol in their entire conversation to evade each other and the issues concerning their relationship. The two begin drinking big beers the minute they land at the station as if hopeful to block up their free time with something but conversation. According to Link (35-40), as soon as they start talking about the hills that resemble white elephants, the girl asks to organize additional drinks to end the predictable conversation about the baby. Although they drink principally to avoid thinking about the pregnancy, readers realize that deeper issuesthrive in their affiliation, of which the baby is just one. In fact, the girl herself implies this when she comments that she and the American man never do anything together except try more drinks as if continuously looking for new ways to stay away from each other. By the end of their dialogue, both drink single-handedly, the girl at the table and the man at the bar recommending that the two will end their association and go their different ways.
A white elephant represents something nobody wants in this tale, the girl’s unborn baby. The girl’s mentionsat the commencement of the story that the adjoining hills look like white elephants originally seem to be aninformal, offhand comment, but it indeed serves as a segue for her and the American to argue their baby and the prospect of having an abortion.Hashmi (27-30) observes that the girl retracts this comment with the observation that the hills do not look like white elephants, a restrained hint that conceivablyshe wantedto maintain the baby after all—a sign the American misses. In fact, she persists that the hills only appears to resemble white elephants at first glimpse and that they are in reality quite exquisite. Comparing the hills and, symbolically, the baby—to elephants also evokes the phrase “the elephant in the room,” a pictureof something painfully noticeable that no one desires to discuss.
In comparison to the American, Hemingway’s exceedingly masculine personality, the girl is less self-assured and influential. Gillette (67) asserts thatin the-the story, the girl emergesweak, perplexed, and hesitant. She changes her mind about the charm of the adjacent hills, for example; cries to altruistically care only for the American, and appearsvague about if she desires to have the abortion. For instance, the girlcannoteven order drinks from the bartender on her own without having to depend on the man’s capability to speak Spanish. Paradoxically, the girl appears to comprehend that her affiliation with the American has efficiently ended, regardless her professed yearning to make him contented. She is aware that even if carries out the operation, their liaison will not resume to how it used tobe before. In several ways, the girl’s awareness of this fact gives her authority over the American, who never actually understands why they stillcannot have “the whole world” like they used before.
“Hills like White Elephants” is a unique tale that involves two main characters in a heated argument concerning thetermination of unwanted pregnancy. The American and the Girl face acrisis in their relationship, and it is evident regardless of the intended operation, the relationship is not likely to propel. However, the girl wanted to sustain their relationship but eventually realizes she is not capable of doing anything. The efforts both characters put in coming up with solution to this problem are met with challenges and differences existing between the two. Throughout the plot, the characters try to come up with a viable solution amidst arguments and differing points of view
Charters, Ann, Ed. The Story and its Writer: An Introduction to Short Fiction. 6th Ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2003.
Gillette, Meg. “Making Modern Parents in Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” and Viña Delmar’s Bad Girl.” MFS Modern Fiction Studies 53.1 (2007): 50-69. Web.
Hashmi, Nilofer. “Hills Like White Elephants”: The Jilting of Jig.” The Hemingway Review 23.1 (2003): 72-83. Web.
Link, Alex. “Staking Every Thing on It: A Stylistic Analysis of Linguistic Patterns in “Hills Like White Elephants”.” The Hemingway Review 23.2 (2004): 66-74. Web.
Rankin, Paul. “Hemingway’s Hills Like White Elephants.” The Explicator 63.4 (2005): 234-37. Web.
Urgo, Joseph R. “Hemingway’s Hills Like White Elephants.” The Explicator 46.3 (1988): 35-37. Web.