Academic Master


Hills like White Elephants by Ernest Hemingway


The writing and verse of the mid-twentieth century requested an intrusion of social qualities. Modernism turned into a confusing term for depicting change. The attributes of Modernism, all look to the free human soul. Modernism didn’t believe in the codes of the past and ethical traditions. Ernest Hemingway’s story, Hills Like White Elephants, is one of the cases of modernism, which breaks the traditions and conventions. Hill Like White Elephants is a story that happens in Spain while a man and a lady sit at a station waiting for a train. The story is built up as an exchange between the two, in which the man is attempting to persuade the lady to accomplish something she is reluctant to do. The story utilizes symbolism, setting, plot, and imagery, to permit the human soul to experience significance and understanding.


The main story character is a young girl named Jig, and she is pregnant. The whole story revolves around Jig being pregnant, and the subject of abortion that emerges through the diverse setting and pictures utilized by Hemingway. Hemingway’s motivation in making Jig’s character was being sure that she wanted to have an abortion. Nonetheless, it might likewise appear like a glance at human instinct, about how people conflict with themselves and accomplish something undesirable just to please another person. In the story, Man, or else called ‘the American,’ is the main adversary. Hemingway’s picture of him is less complimenting than his depiction of Jig (Dobson, Teresa M., et al., 2015). ‘The American’ shows himself as obtuse to Jig’s emotions, in spite of his caring expressions. When reading the short story, the depiction of man is as somebody who wants to make sure Jig will behave the way he wants. In the story, Jig is given a proper name, but the man is not even given a suitable, appropriate name.

According to Shi (2013), the theme of the story is abstract, and a lot of effort is made by Hemingway to make his readers understand the story through the actions of the characters and the conflict between them. The story is based on the theme of conflict in the way people perceive things, the way people value things, the way people feel and the way people have an ideas about certain things or situations (Shi 2013). Readers get that there is a conflict going on between the man and woman due to the way they talk to each other. The girl is pressured by the man that bringing the baby into the world will just make them unhappy and they will go through a difficult time. On the other hand, different thoughts are going on in a girl’s mind. She thinks that they will lose everything if they lose the baby. The theme is revolving around two different worlds of the man and woman. Through the narration, the readers can understand that man is not ready for the responsibility of a child.

There is a controversial debate on whether to abort the baby or give birth to the child. The man insists on the choice of abortion because he knows that in the long term, the baby will be a significant obstacle. “It’s simply to give the air access (Hemingway, 39-44)”. This example illustrates that a child is a huge responsibility and man is not ready for it. Then again, the young lady shows instability on the subject of abortion. Jig needs to keep this infant since she supposes this topic is a component to accomplish strength in her adoration and life. She conceives that losing the child can save her the fortune of having a family that can spare her from loneliness.

After finding the motif in the short story, the strategy presented by Dobson, Teresa M., et al., was utilized; looking at the topics that are frequently assumed throughout the story (2015). On this definition, it can be specified that drinking liquor resembles a motif that rehashes itself all through the short story, wanting to escape inconvenience as well as change the topic of discussion “Should we have another drink? (Hemingway, 39-44)”. Characters request brew once more, and they drink, they can rest easy, and they change condition, and the man starts to convey the discourse forward. Another motif is the curtain specified among the couple with the server and how to go. “The woman came out through the curtains” or “He came out through the bead curtain.” Another motif is ‘Two,’ as for two minutes the train stopped; the station was between two path lines, and there were two bags (Hemingway, 39-44). As it were, alludes to the presence of various goals as well as the sentiments between two characters in the short story that, by one means or another, have brought on conflict all through the short story.

According to Ting-ting (2014), In Hills Like White Elephants, there are various symbols that the reader can make the subject of a short story by methods for these images. Toward the start of the story, the young lady takes a gander at the line of slopes and says: “They look like white elephants (Hemingway, 39-44)”. The hills symbolize the issue in which the couple is included; the white shading speaks to the purity of the unborn child, and the elephant is an image of the belly of a pregnant lady. At the point when the young girl takes a gander at the slopes, she wants to discover the answer; in the meantime, the American man takes a gander at the hills and finds no way out as he says “I’ve never observed one (Hemingway, 39-44)”.

The lines of paths are another image that can indicate two choices of selection by the unique perspective of the couple. From one viewpoint, Jigs observes “oat fields along the banks of the Ebro. Far, past the stream, there are mountains (Hemingway, 39-44)”. This part of the story symbolizes ripeness and fruitfulness and makes Jig realize to give birth to the child because in the wake of seeing this scene, she says that “we could have all things (Hemingway, 39-44)”. Then again there is no passion for life, and there is nothing if Jig chooses to abort the baby “There is no shade or trees (Hemingway, 39-44)”. The young lady must pick an alternative by choosing the track of the train amid the restricted time.

The short story title has driven many to theorize on the subject what is the meaning of the ‘white elephant.’ For the most part, a white elephant is, thought to be strange and unwieldy, so, an issue. The ‘white elephant’ could be pregnancy, the abortion, the infant itself, the Americans’ request that Jig agrees to do an abortion, Jig’s hesitance to get an abortion, the American and Jig herself. After critically going through the story many researchers think that the child/pregnancy (the undeniable choice) is the ‘white elephant’ and others believe that the ‘white elephant’ is the American himself, given his provocation to Jig (Dobson, Teresa M., et al., 2015).

The narration style used in Hill like White Elephants is third person narrative. The narrative of the story is in direct and indirect style. Ernest Hemingway’s impressive dialogues make the story more interesting also there is a remarkable use of quotation marks throughout the story.


Taking everything into account, the story has characters, subjects, thought processes and the contention between the couple who are characters in the discourse. As said over, the young lady (Jig) and the American man have diverse sorts of characters. Readers can continuously connect to the theme of the story because the narrator keeps on describing symbols and landscapes. Hemingway delineates unique methods for deduction between the young lady and the American man on the subject of abortion; it likewise demonstrates the absence of correspondence among the couple. Despite the topic in this story, the couple at the railroad station must settle for their future. In any case, the couple should reach a decision regarding their future. They have to decide whether they want to bring the baby into this world and live as a family or they want to abort this baby and resume their lives the way it is. At the end of the story, it can be said that the girl has reached the conclusion of what she will do and she is relaxed and happy as she states, “I feel fine (Hemingway, 39-44)”. Hemingway has left a little space in this story for the reader to consider the diverse parts of current life in a consumer culture and the contentions that individuals go through in their lives in their approaches to accomplishing happiness.

Works Cited

Dobson, Teresa M., et al. “The Interface Implications of Understanding Readers.” Interdisciplinary Science Reviews 40.1 (2015): 3-16.

Hemingway, Ernest. “Hills like white elephants.” Men without women (1927): 39-44.

Shi, Yanling. “The Style and the Theme of Loss in Hemingway’s Hills Like White Elephants.” Studies in Literature and Language 6.1 (2013): 107.

Ting-ting, X. U. “Interpreting the Difference of Point of View in Hills Like White Elephants.” Foreign Language and Literature 2 (2014): 009.



Calculate Your Order

Standard price





Pop-up Message