The Analysis and Critics on Hills Like White Elephants

The Analysis and Critics on Hills Like White Elephants. 
By Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway is an American writer. He served in WWI ,Spain Civil War and WWII.  He traveled a lot and gained much experiences which he eventually portrayed in his writing. The story was published in 1927. Set in the 1920’s at a train station in the Valley Of Ebro; a junction between the train express from Barcelona and Madrid. The setting of the junction itself conveyed the meaning of two decisions that was needed to be made. The story flows swiftly at a bar, indicates that the society's drinking habits is prominent, confirming the facts that this story happened after WWI . 

It starts with a couple waiting for a train to Madrid. While waiting, they went to a bar and ordered beers. They didn’t make a conversation but simply looked at things while trying new drinks. The girl, Jig commented that the barren hills look like white elephants. After a while, she retracts the comment, hinting that she wants to keep the baby. They kept ordering alcohol. The man open up a conversation about the simple operation and kept telling her how easy it is .The girl says nothing, probably thinking. The man kept persuading her and convinced her that they will be alright, showing the fact that he really doesn’t want the baby which he refers to as bothersome to their lives. Jig ,eventually say that she’ll do the operation because she doesn’t care about herself. The man told her that he doesn’t want to force her into the operation if she doesn’t want it. Yet again, he restates how easy the operation is. Jig has mixed feelings about the abortion. Her statement of 'I said we could have everything' exposes that she wants to raise the baby together which the man failed to agree. Jig suddenly depressed of her thoughts, ordered for more beers. Later , she told the man to stop talking or she’ll scream. The bar girl informed of the incoming train. The man went to settle their belongings and left without another say in the matter which left the readers puzzled on their decision of the baby. At the end of the story, the girl's ambivalence on the condition leaves the readers free to wonder upon the baby's fate.

 Hills like White Elephants render the relationship of a couple. An American man who is simply seeking for fun and tries to run away from the responsibility as he persuaded his girlfriend to have an abortion .The title itself show the symbol of unwanted possession which in this case is Jig’s unborn baby. Throughout the story, they talked about their futures but they don’t really listen to each other. The man which is the protagonist male represents masculinity and who doesn't budge from his decision. Obviously, he is a sweet talker by persuading the girl to do the abortion and convinces her that they will be alright . He numerously repeats that the abortion is a simple operation yet he won’t force her to do it. We can assume that he is doing the ‘reverse psychology tactic’ on Jig. The fragile girl unsure with her decision. Her name Jig itself means hopeless and a kind of dancing; posing the fact that she is going back and forth with the decision.


Ernest Hemingway’s writing style is notably based on the Iceberg Theory. The story hides greater message than what it really shows. He omits extraneous details and folds the complex story into minimal writing and let the readers untangle the crux themselves. The language used is simple yet having its own symbolism creates ambiguous thought and leave readers with their own assumptions .The tone in each line is cleverly constructed to give a clear flow and naturalness of  reality.


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