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Hills Like White Elephants.docx - Hills Like White...

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Hills Like White Elephants | Study GuideErnest HemingwayOverviewAuthorErnest HemingwayYear Published1927TypeShort StoryGenreDrama, FictionPerspective and Narrator"Hills Like White Elephants" features a third-person objective point of view, whichechoes the perspective of a journalist who reports actions, sights, and sounds but notthoughts. Additionally, there are moments when the narrator translates Spanish forreaders, which juxtapose moments when the man translates Spanish for Jig. Theseelements tie to the theme of communication.Tense"Hills Like White Elephants" by Ernest Hemingway is narrated in the past tense.About the Title"Hills Like White Elephants" refers to a comment Jig, the female main character, makesabout the setting of the narrative. This correlation suggests that Jig may be the focus ofthe narrative. As a simile, the phrase must be interpreted. The wordhillmay refer to apregnant belly or a geographic land form that serves as a barrier. The termwhiteelephantrefers to something that is burdensome, costly, or without value. Symbolically,the title ties to both the pregnancy and theme of communication or the lack of it.ContextAmericans in EuropeAfter World War I, numerous up-and-coming American authors were living in Europe,especially in Paris. These creative individuals felt alienated from the values of theUnited States and earlier generations. This dissatisfaction led writer Gertrude Stein todub the group "the lost generation" in a remark to her friendErnest Hemingway. Inaddition to Stein and Hemingway, the lost generation included Ezra Pound, John DosPassos, T.S. Eliot, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Living in Europe gave them perspective on theUnited States, as well as freedom from its social expectations. It also let them traveleasily to other countries, such as Spain, and to live culturally rich lives. Hemingwaycame to Europe to serve as a volunteer ambulance driver in World War I and returnedafter the war as a foreign correspondent. He lived in Paris and traveled to Spainrepeatedly.There is also a long tradition of American writers visiting Europe and writing aboutcharacters that do so. This tradition predates the lost generation of expatriate writers.
For Fitzgerald and Hemingway, Europe is a place where their characters can controltheir own destinies. Because these American characters are surrounded by Europeans,they feel their American identities more clearly. At the same time, they can play at notbeing American. Being American but living somewhere else is a special kind of freedom.In "Hills LikeWhite Elephants," Hemingway shows two young Americans enjoying thatkind of freedom and what happens when circumstances bring it to an end.ModernismThe modernist movement in the arts began in the late 19th century. Painters,composers, and writers tried to, as American expatriate writer Ezra Pound would latersay, "Make it new." They wanted to create new perspectives on the world, as well as

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