Symbols in Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” Report

July 16, 2021 by Essay Writer

Updated: Dec 28th, 2020

Hills like white elephants by Ernest Hemingway is the story under discussion. It abounds with different symbols which may be interpreted in different ways. Abortion and the relation of people to it is the central theme of the story which offers a lot of topics for discussion. The relationships between a man and a woman, the differences of attitude to pregnancy and life in general, the seriousness of relationships, and the ability to grow up and bear the responsibility for the actions.

Coming closer to the discussion of symbols in the story, the setting of the story should be referred to. A man and a woman are sitting at the café located at the railway station “between two lines of rails in the sun” (Hemingway, 1998, p. 211). Isn’t it symbolic? The points of view of the girl and her companion are different in the relation to a child and this location may symbolize their parting. What touches my attention greatly is the side of the station.

At the beginning of the story, it is understood that a man and a woman are sitting in the shady side of the station where “the warm shadow of the building and a curtain, made of strings of bamboo beads, hung across the open door into the bar” (Hemingway, 1998, p. 211).

This part of the story symbolizes hope, the girl hopes that the man is going to change his point of view about the unborn child. At the same time, the author describes another side of the station where “there was no shade and no trees” (Hemingway, 1998, p. 211). At the end of the story, a man offers to “take the bags over to the other side of the station” (Hemingway, 1998, p. 214), where no hope for childbirth and their relations is seen.

Reference List

Hemingway, E. (1998). Hills like white elephants. The complete short stories of Ernest Hemingway. New York: Simon and Schuster.




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