hills like white elephants - Joanna A Vargas Professor Fred...

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Joanna A. Vargas Professor Fred D’Astoli English 102 March 20, 2011 Symbolism in “Hills like White Elephants” Everyday people make decisions that will end up affecting their present and future lives. Some of those decisions may be either good or bad; it all depends on how the person feels about them. In Hemingway’s short story “Hills like White Elephants” the main characters are faced with one of those types of decisions of either having the “operation” or choosing not to, but be faced with a very difficult and different future. He structures the story as a dialogue which makes the reader understand the feeling of the moment and gives and objective point of view which makes the reader unattached from the characters, all that is seen is the outside. He does not give too much information on what is happening; however, he gives a long list of symbolism which aids the reader into understanding the underlying meaning of the story. He emphasizes the importance of an idea and he leaves out the important details of the story using symbols which represent them. Hemingway’s theme for the story are the flaws of human nature, the way in which people ignore problems and makes decisions based on what others may think is right. He sets the story in a train station on a very hot day with no shade anywhere; this makes the reader feel uneasy from the beginning. The way in which the characters tend to go off topic and just talk about superficial things gives the sense that there is something not being told and creates tension. The main symbols in the story are the “Hills like White Elephants,” which suggest the innocence of Jigs character at the beginning. The hills are mentioned several times in the story, as well as being the title of it. That increases the significance of what the hills mean, but at first the reader cannot tell what it is that Hemingway wants them to understand. They signify more than innocence, they signify fertility and the shape of a pregnant woman’s belly; however, this is not seen at first glance. The hills also represent the life that is inside of Jig and that is being ignored and tried to be forgotten. However, for the man the hills represent a very different thing.

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