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An examination of hills like light elephants by

‘Hills just like White Elephants’ is a very clever story authored by a journalist, turned ambulance driver, flipped military, turned prose and fiction copy writer. Ernest Hemingway was popular intended for his novels and short stories, but before he kept entertained his enthusiasm for the ability of storytelling, he worked intended for the Kansas Star being a reporter; having been also an ambulance rider during Globe War My spouse and i and enrolled in the Italian infantry.

This individual took every opportunity to wield the pen, in fact , after the conflict; he proved helpful for the Toronto Star.

Hemingway was more in love with the pen compared to the musket as throughout the Spanish Municipal War as well as the Second World War, he even worked as a reports correspondent. This brilliant writer produced outstanding pieces of materials that are valued for their top quality to this day such as ‘Death in the Afternoon’, ‘The Green Hills of Africa’, ‘A Farewell to Arms’, ‘For Which the Bells Tolls’, and ‘The Old guy and the Sea’.

Hemingway received from his experiences in the motifs of his pieces which usually acquired masculine occasion like hunting, war, and also other activities linked to the masculine gender. For some strange reason, however , Tolstoy committed suicide in 1961. His performs of short fiction had been far better than his novels; however it is with his novels that this individual built a reputation to get himself. ‘Hills just like White Elephants’ is one of his short stories that quite displays the skill of Tolstoy as a fictionist.

‘Hills just like white Elephants’ is a bit of literature that demonstrates the system known to literaturists as fictional control in tackling the key theme which can be abortion. It is a story that details a very very sensitive issue with the usage of allegory and a philosophical approach to hype known as existentialism.

The story ‘Hills like Light Elephants’ is known as a relatively ‘short’ short story that is ridden with symbolism; for all their worth, it might have as well been an item of poetry, in the event not for the obvious narrative style. It is regarding two people, an un-named American and Jig who may have a discussion over some drinks at a train station vacation.

The matter of their discussion is vague in the beginning, and becomes clear to be abortion afterwards. The piece is a ‘silent’ comments about the of opinions between men and women in general as well as the poignant result of both sexes to media that may can change ones way of life. In this particular story, Hemingway used the 3rd person perspective to give the audience a sense of range when browsing the story. By this, it indicates that the audience, instead of strongly associating themselves with the personas in the account, would rather, identify themselves on a several level, therefore, giving even the subject matter from the story a metaphorical feel, despite their being a touchable and quite material issue.

This unique level of identity in the story because of the narrative is a technique used by many writers to make a more standard feel towards the story; in order that the audience, in reading the storyplot, does not have to attach themselves to a particular detail and identify with that detail. Noticeably so , this same quality of the account is also attained by Hemingway’s use of direct, relatively short phrases for the conversation in the two character types. It, again, gives the story a definite indifferent feel.

It allows the reader to explore the story in various amounts instead of just cruising into one particular aspect of the storyplot. In addition, it prevents the audience from succumbing to the temptation of making specific conclusions regarding the story early on; from the temptations of simply disregarding different details inside the story and focusing on the key subject matter, which is abortion. Even this kind of issue will certainly not be mentioned in the piece, apart from in the form of emblems and roundabout statements from your characters.

This specific style of composing, where the copy writer skimps upon words, and in turn, attaches multi-level meanings towards the text is recognized as literary control. The primary theme of child killingilligal baby killing is addressed in this particular style, to begin with the title on its own, “Hills just like White Elephants. (Hemingway, 1950)The title, which is illustrated more in the initial paragraph with the story which describes the setting, receives a new degree of interpretation in the passage, “The hills through the valley of the Ebro were long and white.  (Hemingway, 1950); and the young lady continues to illustrate the barren landscape, “They look like light elephants. (Hemingway, 1950)

What this does in particular would it be foreshadows the main theme of the story by presenting something decrepit or useless. ‘White elephants’ happen to be accepted to be symbols of big structures which are not functional, in addition to the way this type of phrase is employed to describe the hills inside the story, it takes on a several meaning ” that the slopes, barren and dry, apparently representations of abundance and fertility, happen to be apparently ‘white’ or unimpressive on a succinct, pithy level.

This specific style combines two opposition images, that of fertility in the hills, and emptiness, inside the perception of Jig. What this does can it be confirms Jig’s pregnancy, yet alludes to this pregnancy staying empty, or in other words that she gets that her pregnancy is usually meaningless, in the event that not to her, to her enthusiast. The tension in the conversation is given one other push with the man’s comment about Jig’s description in the hills, “I’ve never viewed one (white elephant). (Hemingway, 1950)

Then Jig responds, “No, you wouldn’t have.  (Hemingway, 1950)Onthe level that has been discussed, this kind of exchange inside their conversation essentially presents the person as being unsociable not only to the energy of Lure but to the concept of emptiness and aloneness; that other than not being able to feeling how Lure is feeling at the moment, this individual also is the natural way and habitually indifferent, self-centered, even.

This kind of early inside the story, there is an indication regarding the personality of Jig becoming very dependent and attached with the man because of her needing his acceptance first before the girl does whatever; in having a drink, your woman asks, “What should we drink¦Could we all try it (Anis del Toro)?  (Hemingway, 1950); and once she is asked if she would take the beverage with normal water, she demands (addressing the man), “I don’t know¦Is it very good with normal water?  (Hemingway, 1950)

The statements above from the young lady show just how valuable the man’s authorization of her decisions is. These types of show the weightiness of the man’s decisions despite matters concerning Jig. This particular exchange also gives the audience a good idea of how the tone will probably be when the key issue of abortion comes into play. Now, the girl as well senses the indifference of the man and indicates this with the line, “Everything tastes like licorice. Especially the things get waited too long for, just like absinthe.  (Hemingway, 1950)

The girl right here makes a great indirect mention of the their life-style ” that nothing is new with these people ” and suddenly, once something new occurs ” your woman gets pregnant ” the person refuses to recognize the alter. Particularly, this also gives a slight indication the girl desires to continue the pregnancy the moment she implied that it is a modify that she ‘waited such a long time for’ (Hemingway 1950)This kind of interpretation can be further strengthened when the lady remarks, “That’s all we all do, isn’t it ” look at points and make an effort new refreshments?  (Hemingway, 1950)

One other indication regarding the lifestyle of this couple comes later in the story, with the author’s information of the hand bags at the station, “He would not say anything but looked at the plastic bags against the wall of the station. There were product labels on them from all the resorts where they had spent night times.  (Hemingway, 1950)This description in the bags produces the images of the owners of the luggage being people who are on a pleasure trip in one place to another. Hand bags are also used here to represent the emotional or perhaps mental baggage that the man is holding as a consequence of the pregnancy of Jig.

If the man finally reveals inside the story that he wants Jig to have an abortion, in the passage, “It’s really an awfully basic operation, Lure, ¦ It’s not really an operation at all.  (Hemingway, 1950), the tension begins to rise, and even more symbols emerge. Of course , with this kind of remark from the man, the woman becomes quiet and does not respond.

However , her first collection after this thought is “Then what will we do later?  (Hemingway, 1950)Essentially, what this does is it amplifies the emptiness in the woman with regards to the child killingilligal baby killing ” her asking ‘what to do afterwards’ (Hemingway, 1950) shows that your woman does not discover anything following the abortion; that everything after the abortion can be covered in haze. The man additional refers to the pregnancy as something that has turned them both unhappy (Hemingway, 1950), in response, the lady takes your hands on two strings of beads from the bead curtain and says, “And you believe then we will be okay and be happy. . (Hemingway, 1950)

Nevertheless , note that although the girl nearly validates the statement of the man about the pregnancy, notice the action of holding the beads ” while this could easily become passed away as a great unconscious musing, it could also be symbolic for ‘prayer’. Beads will be derived from the Middle British word ‘bede’ which means prayer. The string of beads while described very much look like the ones in rosaries; hence, it might be interpreted that although the woman seems to believe the man, she’s praying or perhaps hoping against all expect that child killingilligal baby killing was not the solution to their problem.

The girl is in a loss for words at this point and refers back in the ‘white elephants’ in her previously exchange while using man particularly pointing out his earlier a reaction to this remark, “But if I do it, then it will be great again basically say everything is like light elephants, and you will like it?  (Hemingway, 1950)Now, if the previous interpretation of ‘white elephants’ being emptiness is applied to this statement, it becomes quite cynical as opposed to the strengthen at which you are able to ” the woman here is submitting to the person and suggesting that she will be vacant with the child killingilligal baby killing, but will the man like her in this condition, anyway?

The man responds, “I’ll enjoy it. I love this now but I just cannot think about it.  (Hemingway, 1950)Slowly, off their exchanges, a brute character emerges through the man, insensitive, and unsociable. Their very own conversation then continues on to indicate which the girl will probably be having the abortion but not mainly because she would like it, nevertheless because this tends to make her man happy, as well implying that her own happiness is definitely not a matter of concern, since she has place the man’s joy before her own; this she conveyed with the lines, “Then I am going to do it. Mainly because I no longer care about myself.  (Hemingway, 1950)Here we can see that the resolution is definitely not met between the two characters, only a distribution, which, incidentally, is against the will from the lady.

Mcdougal alludes to the lady’s desire of having the child when he placed in a description of the scenery in the other aspect of the place ” which, in this tale, represents a ‘crux’ or possibly a point of decision. The station here is emblematic of a turning point in both these styles the lives of the heroes, and so, the author, earlier, describes that the hills are dried and barren, while at the other side of the place, “were domains of feed and trees and shrubs along the financial institutions of the Ebro. Far away, beyond the water, were mountains. (Hemingway, 1950)

All these images represent fertility, life, and restoration, and at this time also, if the lady sees this particular landscape, she activities a change of heart and realizes that she should at least take one other chance by convincing the man that the child killingilligal baby killing will ditch her empty, which should be the main concern between the a pair of them, in case the man was sensitive enough. This realization is clear in their speedy exchange of lines, “I said we could have anything. /We may have every thing. /No, we all can’t. /We can have whole community. /No, all of us can’t. /We can go all over the place. /No, we can’t. It’s ours any longer. /It’s mine. /No, it isn’t. And once they get it aside, you under no circumstances get it again.  (Hemingway, 1950)

From this exchange, it is evident how totally unrelated the mans arguments will be in relation to the girl’s. Here, they will don’t genuinely ‘meet’ the other person in terms of what they are talking about. This ‘not meeting of minds’ features another roundabout symbol in the ‘railroad tracks’ which are parallel and never fulfill. Notice the last assertion of the woman in the above exchange; through this particular line, she is referring to the child in her tummy, while earlier on in the conversation, the man is actually referring to the fabric and sensual pleasures that they can had both been enjoying.

The man says that they can have all these, nevertheless the lady disagrees. In the long run, there is no closure in their argument and Tolstoy leaves the audience hanging as to whether the girl decides to have the abortion or certainly not. The system known, however , is that in the end, the woman indicates that she is fine (Hemingway, 1950); considering her previous arguments, then it may be assumed that she will certainly not be opting for the abortion.

While the tale is fairly basic in its display, it takes up a very deep philosophy called existentialism, appropriately so as the writer occupied an era when ever this beliefs was in push. Regardless of the girl’s appearing submission for the man’s will certainly in this tale, she basically exercises her individual existence and choice; two very basic concepts of existentialism.

From your text, it really is evident how a lady challenges to assert her own person set of values, and how the girl, although in a very subtle way, dismisses the man’s arguments in favor of her own group of beliefs and her flexibility to choose. So , whilst we can easily say that for a shallow reader, the storyline is just an exchange of conversation among two people concerning an illigal baby killing, the icons and the brilliant use of language comes into play to coax the reader to break down the story and interpret that a different level; at which level, the sources to existentialism become crystal clear.

In closing, the story is indeed a hotbed of symbolism and a classic sort of literary control. That spoon-feed the audience nor usually takes all the thinking away from the visitor. It very discreetly, but incredibly accurately infers various meanings into the text by way ofallegory, and in a big way presents the idea of existentialism simply by playing around with the conversation of two people, the creation of a delicate matter, and then, the unsaid assertion with the lady of her specific nature and her own freedom.


Hemingway, E. (1950). Hillsides like White colored Elephants. Recovered March 25, 2009, from



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Topic: Baby killing, Child killingilligal, Child killingilligal baby, Killingilligal baby,

Words: 2710

Published: 12.10.19

Views: 264

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