Humanitarian / Literature Essay


Hills Like White Elephants Analysis

When towing the path of 20th-century American contemporary storytellers, one is bound to stumble on Ernest Hemingway countless times. Born in 1899, Hemingway was a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1953 and a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954.

In addition, his work on the nuances of the conscious American lifestyle had since bestowed on him the endowment as one of the classical authors of American literature. This is not farfetched given his authorship of a number of short story collections, including other non-fiction works.

His works include The Sun Also Rises (1926), Farewell to Arms (1929), For Whom the Bells Tolls (1940), Islands in the Stream (1951), The Old Man and the Sea (1952) amongst other classical works.

First published in 1927, “Hills like White Elephants” centers on a contextual debate relevant to individual choices. The plot of the story revolves around an exchange at a table, over drinks, between a man and a woman (who is acclaimed as girl or Jig) at a Spanish train station as they jointly await a train heading for Madrid.

The nature of this conversation is remotely ingrained in an operation that is perceived to be of such importance that the man wants the young woman to perform it. This operation though not expressly stated, fairly indicates an abortion.

With this piece, Hemingway breaks down the offshoot of unsaid words and how they bear a definite meaning than the bulk of what appears to be said. He casually uses the theory of omission in literature, which involves the deliberate replacement of relevant details with the use of unnamed characters, stylistic details, and descriptive narrative style that, in the end, would naturally expose the reader(s) to the nature of the subject matter.

Hemingway instills the use of symbolism in the length of the book through an awareness tailored to achieve an air of secrecy around the story. From its title, the term White elephants” embraces the notion of a valuable but unwanted gift. This gift as we come to understand refers to the unborn child. The history of White elephants dates back to a Siamese king (now called Thailand) who bestowed white elephants upon any member of his court who displeased him.

On the surface, the white elephant appeared to be an honorary treasure for prior accomplishments, yet it is imbued with a paradoxical motive of individual burden. In the story, this takes the guise of an unborn child who though generally celebrated as a tool of joy, but when estimated, as the man suggests in the story, would be too emotionally or financially expensive to cater for.

Furthermore, there is the symbol spurned from the axiom “the elephant in the room. This phrase is usually utilized when a person is deliberately avoiding the dialogue of an obvious subject.

In Hills like White Elephants, Hemingway scaled past the open book ideology of addressing issues head-on from the perspective of the girl who did not see her child from the frame of an unwanted gift, wished endlessly to dissolve the issue while they appeared to wait for the train to arrive.

From this, the author juxtaposed the innate attribute of solving problems hastily and the reverse approach of human beings to postpone the discussion or outright pretend it does not exist.

Moreover, Ernest Hemingway embraces the use of the landscape of the story to create a demonstrable symbol. One is the use of the railway station. This instrument is a lineal metaphor for the dual faces of decision-making.

It vaguely indicates crossroads from an important decision from which would stem circumstances that the future. Consequently, the landscape of the story the hills displays contrast with how tall the decision is and how subtle it appears to be deliberated.

In addition, while following the story, at a side of the tracks, the field is devoid of shades and trees, while on another is a field of grains along the bank of Ebro. The implication of this could be that the decision to be arrived at held two directions, which are a life led in pain and regrets or the other filled with fruitfulness and joy.

Throughout the story, Ernest Hemingway explores the mystery of language alongside how it possesses the power to hold meaning even when it fails to be expressed. An instance is when without mentioning abortion, the story unfolds while being vested in such subject matter.

With this, the author trails the lane of a stylistic rendition of stories that hold meanings in the unsaid things. It should also be documented that the characters were unnamed and, the man was referred to as “the man” and the girl likewise with occasional use of Jig.

Besides, Hills like White Elephants, take the formula of a story that depicts the circumstances of choices and their implementation in how they are prepared. The story evolves through the choices to be made about an important subject, which is centered on two consenting adults.

Also, there is the expression of the socio-cultural lifestyle of the American people who are vested in freedom from family and plunged in an individual cave of personal decisions and consequences. This is exhibited in the nature of the discussion of both parties as they are made to make new choices about their prior choice of having consensual sexual relations.

As it relates to the societal posture, the story indicates some anti-feminist undertone as it indirectly undermines the position of the feminine gender in arriving at her own decisions even when the consequences of such would make or mar their body as in the case of an abortion.

Finally, Hills like White Elephants illustrates the decision-making and its repercussions on lives. It does this with the use of characters, landscapes and actionsHills Like White Elephants Analysis, which hold quiet symbolism with the crux of the message.

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