English 4 Essay 1.docx

English 4 Essay 1.docx - Sidhu 1 Prabhleen Sidhu Professor...

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Sidhu 1 Prabhleen Sidhu Professor Diana Firestone English 4 22 May, 2016 Analysis on “ Hills Like White Elephants” In Ernest Hemingway's short story, “Hills Like White Elephants,” we follow along with a couple’s conversation, an American and a girl, in a train station. The story was written in 1927 and the time period was post World War I. The story’s two lead characters, an older American man and a girl named Jig, who seems to be foreign. The story takes place in a train station in the Spanish valley, the couple are drinking and having a conversation whether they should proceed to their next destination to carry out a life-changing procedure. Throughout the story, Hemingway is subtle when emphasizing the topic of conversation between the couple. However, through symbolism and imagery, it can be deduced that the American and Jig are talking about abortion. Jig does not express this openly, however she opposes the idea of aborting her child. The American views it as an escape from commitment, and tries to convince Jig that it is the right thing to do. This paper will analyze the setting of the story, the character’s relationship, and how Hemingway conveys the feelings of the characters. E rnest Hemingway uses symbols found in dialogue and setting to reveal that making decisions requires a great deal of thought, and can sometimes not be mutual between couples. The scene opens on a railway station in Spain where “the hills across the valley of the Ebro were long and white” (Hemingway, 129). The lack of literal meaning is confusing when first reading the short story, however, after rereading the story, details start to click. The author uses symbols from the setting to give clarity on the conversation between the couple. One thing
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Sidhu 1 to notice is how only Jig, the girl, notices the surroundings around the train station. “They look like white elephants,” she said. “I’ve never seen one, the man drank his beer.” (Hemingway, 130) This shows how the man does not even care to listen to the girl which gives off a sense of lack of interest in Jig and self-absorption. Also a significant detail is the train station itself. In that time period it was not uncommon for a man travelling abroad to have a fling with a woman for a short time and just up and leave, no matter the consequence or responsibility. A good symbol of this
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