HILLS LIKE WHITE ELEPHANTS. The hills across the valley of the Ebro' were long and white. On this side there was no shade and no trees and the station was . Page 1. Hills Like White Elephants. Page 2. Page 3. Page 1. 'Hills Like White Elephants'. Page 2. Page 3. Page 4.
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Hills Like White Elephants. By Ernest Hemingway. The hills across the valley of the Ebro were long and white. On this side there was no shade and no trees and . “Hills Like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway from Charters, Ann, Ed. The Story and its Writer: An Introduction to Short Fiction. 6th Ed. Boston: Bedford/St. PDF | The author utilizes enigmatic language that requires In “Hill Like White Elephants,” Hemingway narrates a story of a man and woman.
Within the story, Hemingway makes "two references to the whiteness of the hills and four to them as white elephants".
In correlation with the drink "absinthe" as mentioned above, there is believed to be a contrast of joy and sorrow between the black licorice of the alcoholic drink and the whiteness of the hills.
This can also be contrasted with the comparison between the white hills and the dry, brown countryside that represents the same joy and sorrow as the former. However, the true meaning of the title does not become fully known until the topic of getting an abortion is revealed between the couple, as the man states, it's an "awfully simple question It is then understood that the use of the term "white elephants" may in fact be a reference to the White elephant sale.
It's a sale put together through the donation of unwanted gifts, making the reader believe that this may be correlating with the act of getting an abortion.
It could also mean the literal translation of elephant in the room meaning something painfully obvious that is not to be spoken about or referenced. This is viewed different between the couple. The child is seen "as simply a white elephant to the man" to be rid of, whereas the woman only sees it as this due to the fathers views. It's a drink. From the outset of the story, the contentious nature of the couple's conversation indicates resentment and unease.
Some critics have written that the dialogue is a distillation of the contrasts between stereotypical male and female relationship roles: in the excerpt above, for instance, the woman draws the comparison with white elephants, but the hyper-rational male immediately denies it, dissolving the bit of poetry into objective realism with "I've never seen one.
She also asks his permission to order a drink. Throughout the story, the woman is distant; the American is rational. Though the immediate problem is the unwanted pregnancy, the experience has revealed that the relationship is a shallow one. While most critics have espoused relatively straightforward interpretations of the dialogue, a few have argued for alternate scenarios.
The anti-feminist perspective emphasizes the notion that the man dominates the woman in the story, and she ultimately succumbs to his will by getting the abortion. These divergences are due partly to the sparseness of the lines and words mobilized in this narrative, which give rise to ambiguity, and which in turn allow for at least two readings.
The elements and the words evoke possible meanings; they point to attitudes and desires—but none is univocal enough to irrefutably support a claim about one particular decision. These diametrically opposed readings can also be explained by the abundance of contrasts in the text. He takes note too of the imagery of the two tracks, signifying the opposite directions and ways of life open to the protagonists.
Johnston likewise notes that the description of the Ebro valley figures two sides of the main conflict, one of which is arid and the other lush with life.
The near side where the station stands is devoid of trees and shade; the only respite from the sun available is the warm shadow of the station building. Furthermore, the characters themselves embody contrasts: the American is older, has financial means, knowledgeable, sticks to facts, sees things literally, and prefers a life of pleasure; Jig is referred to as a girl, is financially dependent, does not speak the local language, entertains dreams, is more imaginative, and longs for a settled life.
Johnston and Shi also point to the contrast between the style in which the story is written documentary, realist language and the deep tensions that readers are made to feel. Recall too that Jig stays for the most part and until the end in the shade provided by the building, in between the scorching heat of the sun and the flowing river on the far side of the valley.
The most that can be said is that she comes to a keen realization of the lives that are at stake and that she wavers between her desires. In connection with the oppositions in the story, it is my view that some commentators have fallen victim to assumptions about the plot that the text does not support.
First, with regard to place, some take it for granted that the protagonists are going to an abortion clinic in Madrid Hashmi 74; Johnston Secondly, the story unfolds within a timeframe of 40 minutes. Flora 45 , Hashmi 80 , and Johnston underline the tension, drama, and urgency that this compression of time adds to the choice and the narrative as a whole.
This, however, should not lead us to believe that Jig necessarily makes a decision. This can mean that he is blind to the consequences of the course of action he wants, or that he has time to drink alone, prefiguring his decision to abandon Jig Hashmi In my view, this allows for the possibility that the one train they are waiting for may be delayed or is not coming at all.
Moreover, it can soundly be inferred that abortion has been discussed prior to that day. Why try to pick up the thread of the conversation if the die had already been cast? I agree with Lamb for their words are to the very end ambiguous and because the story provides space and time enough for the girl to withhold a decision.
This paper argued that nothing in the narrative conclusively supports the reading that Jig makes a final irretrievable decision. I explained that omission does not entail leaving out one correct ending, but rather creates ambiguities allowing for multiple interpretations.
I explained too that the setting and characterization present contrasts that clarify the alternatives but do not exclusively support any of them. These points are underscored by the final, silent actions of the man and by the inscrutable smile accompanying the last words of Jig——pregnant with unsaid, elusive meaning.
Works Cited Baker, Carlos. Eugene Goodheart. Pasadena: Salem Press,