Hills like white elephants summary. Hills Like White Elephants Study Guide 2022-11-01
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"Hills Like White Elephants" is a short story by Ernest Hemingway, first published in 1927. The story is set in a train station in Spain and follows a conversation between a man and a woman, referred to only as "the American" and "the girl."
Throughout the conversation, it becomes clear that the man is trying to persuade the girl to have an abortion. The girl is hesitant and seems unsure of what to do, while the man is more insistent and appears to be more concerned with his own desires and plans.
The story's title refers to a conversation between the girl and the man, in which the girl compares the nearby hills to "white elephants." This comparison is symbolic, as a white elephant is a rare and valuable but also burdensome possession. The hills represent the unwanted pregnancy, and the girl's hesitation and uncertainty about the abortion can be seen as a metaphor for the weight of this decision.
As the conversation progresses, the tension between the two characters becomes more palpable. The girl seems to be trying to find a way to express her own feelings and concerns, but the man is more interested in convincing her to go through with the abortion. He repeatedly tells her that it is "just to let the air in" and that it "doesn't mean anything," implying that the procedure is minor and insignificant. However, the girl is more aware of the gravity of the situation and expresses her uncertainty about the procedure and its potential consequences.
In the end, the girl ultimately agrees to have the abortion, but it is clear that this decision is not one that she makes willingly or happily. The story ends with the two characters walking off together, with the girl silently contemplating the hills in the distance, perhaps thinking about the difficult decision she has just made.
Overall, "Hills Like White Elephants" is a poignant and powerful exploration of the complexities of relationships and the difficult choices that can arise in them. It showcases the power dynamics at play in a relationship and the ways in which one person can try to persuade or manipulate another to make a particular decision. It also highlights the importance of communication and the need for individuals to be able to express their own desires and concerns, even in the face of pressure or coercion.
Hills Like White Elephants
As he walks back through the bar he stops to get another Anis del Toro alone. Wade, the justices ruled in a 7-2 decision that a Texas law barring a woman from having an abortion unless her life was in danger was unconstitutional. The device of not naming the characters in the narrative indicates that the characters are prototypes and that there is a power inequity in their relationship he is called a 'man' while she is called a 'girl'. Sometimes a person could infer the wrong things or not get the whole story. Also, since the people talking in the conversation might not tell the full story, the person listening might not get to know how the end of their conversation went, but if they are lucky, they might. Suddenly, the man tells Jig that what they had been discussing is a very simple operation if it could be considered an operation at all.
After the girl comments pointedly on the bitterness of their last drink, the American abruptly interjects with reassurance that 'It's really an awfully simple operation. He said he knows a lot of people who have had surgery and found happiness afterwards. Editor's Note: On June 24, 2022, the US Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. They are simply 'the American man' and 'the girl' whose name is revealed only when the man addresses her as Jig in the dialogue. He presents only the conversation between them and allows his readers to draw their own conclusions. At this station the train tracks run parallel yet never meeting.
The woman defers most of the smaller decisions throughout the story to the man, like which drinks to order because she is the less experienced drinker. We have no clear ideas about the nature of the discussion abortion , and yet the dialogue does convey everything that we conclude about the characters. On the side where they are sitting, there is 'no shade and no trees. The Landscape The landscape in the story represents the choices that Jig is faced with and she is the only one who notices and comments on it. Symbolism Instead of the action of the story revealing what the characters think and feel, the author uses symbols to convey meaning. After they finished their drinks, the American carried their bags to the platform and then returned to the bar, noticing all the other people also waiting for the train.
In addition, the popularity of this story can be found in the change in readers' expectations. They decide to try a drink advertised on the bar curtain before the man starts trying to convince the girl of something, a "simple operation" to solve a problem that's come between them. The girl says the hills look like white elephants for a couple reasons. His pushiness ultimately seems to solidify her opinion against him as the story comes to a close. His most famous works are the novels A Farewell To Arms, and the novella Tender is the Night , and his work often played with themes common in the work of other Lost Generation writers. The importance of the clean, well-lighted place where one can sit is integral to maintaining dignity and formality amidst loneliness, despair and desperation.
Analysis of Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants"
She speaks with him sarcastically and sadly, wishing that they could have the whole world; they can't, in her view, because "they" will take it away. He orders the drinks with water. He asked the girl if she felt better. With surprising intensity, she begs him to stop talking. From all his time spent there, Hemingway held a long-standing fascination with Spain, and the country provides the setting for several others of his most famous works, including The Sun Also Rises and Death in the Afternoon.
Ernest Hemingway was born in Illinois just before the turn of the century. Jig, on the other hand, is at least willing to consider the first definition: something that is sometimes revered. A white elephant is a possession or object that, while considered desirable, entails a great cost which is not proportional to the benefits. The girl, however, has moved away from the rational world of the man and into her own world of intuition, in which she seemingly knows that the things that she desires will never be fulfilled. They drink a lot of alcohol at the station of note, at the time that Hemmingway wrote the story, it was not widely known that alcohol would cause harm to a baby during pregnancy , they engage in fruitless small talk about nothing, and their bags had labels from all of the hotels at which they had stayed. Throughout this dialogue, the girl's crumbling realization that she is not truly loved is a strong undercurrent that creates tension and suppressed fear. She, of course, desires the beauty, loveliness, and fertility of the fields of grain, but she knows that she has to be content with the barren sterility of an imminent abortion and the continued presence of a man who is inadequate.
Hills Like White Elephants Summary & Analysis Activities
Because they are in the distance, they are also unattainable. This back-and-forth forms the major conflict and plot of "Hills Like White Elephants. The origin of the phrase is commonly traced to a practice in Siam now Thailand in which a king would bestow the gift of a white elephant on a member of his court who displeased him. Early objections to this story also cited the fact that there are no traditional characterizations. Also notable is that "white elephant" is a term used to refer to something that requires much care and yielding little profit; an object no longer of any value to its owner but of value to others; and something of little or no value. Generally, "Hills Like White Elephants" analysis focuses on the ending: what does the girl mean when she says "I'm fine," and does she choose to go along with the man or keep the baby? Hemingway tells the story from watching the couple from across the bar and listening to their troublesome conversation. Setting The setting of "Hills Like White Elephants" is the Valley of the Ebro in Spain, in the 1920s.
He translates for her, even now: Abortion involves only a doctor allowing "a little air in. The story revolves around the relationship and power politics of a couple who are discussing what to do about their unplanned pregnancy. They are at a train station, or crossroads, in their relationship where they have come to make this important decision. The man excuses himself from the table, explaining that he should move their bags to the other side of the station. How does the man and woman use it in dialogue? In conclusion, this source is sufficient for the literary research paper because not only does it provide information about the story itself, but also the author and his way of writing.
The two sit drinking beer and liquor in the sweltering heat and sun light as they wait for their train to Madrid. It is when someone gives away something they already own as a gift because they have no use for it, just as this man seems to have no use for a child. The girl seems dissatisfied with their lives, feeling that they are empty as all they do is travel and other selfish endeavors. In the story, Hemingway refers to the Ebro River and to the bare, sterile-looking mountains on one side of the train station and to the fertile plains on the other side of the train station. The American chastises her and says that they should try to enjoy themselves. Once he returns, there is little conversation to conclude the story.
Neither is ever given a formal name - perhaps an attempt by Hemingway to make the characters more relatable to his readers. The station where the couple is waiting is in a valley bisected by two different landscapes which the woman makes remarks about. Significantly, their conversation begins with a discussion of what to drink, suggesting how central alcohol has become to their avoidance of real communication. In a moment of desperation, faced with the impossibility of their talking, the man moves the luggage to the other side of the station. The girl, in turn, asks him to stop talking. The love bond between the man and Jig is strong; however, the more powerful bond between Jig and her unborn child is sacred.