Hills like White Elephants Analysis Essay.
In Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants,” a couple waits for a train in Spain while sipping beer and anise liquor. Despite the man’s best efforts, the lady is still undecided about having an abortion. The tense conversation is key to the story’s plotting. In 1927, Hemingway authored “Hills Like White Elephants,” which is extensively anthologized today for its symbolism and application of Hemingway’s Iceberg Theory.
Hemingway’s Iceberg Theory of Hills like White Elephants
In Hemingway’s “theory of omission,” the Iceberg Theory holds that a writer should use the fewest words necessary to convey the greater, unwritten tale lying under the surface. This so-called “theory of omission,” as Hemingway put it, should not be used as an excuse for a writer not to be familiar with the intricacies of their tale. Ignoring things because you don’t know them only creates empty spaces in your writing, as he stated in “Death In The Evening.”
Although the story’s major theme is abortion, its briefness (fewer than 1,500 words) and the conspicuous absence of the word “abortion” demonstrate this idea. It isn’t the first time the characters have brought up the subject, as evidenced in part by the woman’s interruption of the guy and completion of his phrase in the discussion that follows: I don’t want you to do anything that you don’t want to—” “Nor that isn’t good for me,” she said. “I know.”
How Do We Know Hills like White Elephants is About Abortion?
If the subject matter of “Hills Like White Elephants” already appears clear to you, you may skip this section. However, if the narrative is fresh to you, you may not have the same confidence in it as someone who has heard it before. While reading, it is evident that he wants to do surgery, which he defines as “not an operation at all” because it is so easy. Because “it’s the only thing that troubles us,” he swears to stay with her and that they’ll be happy afterward.
He doesn’t say anything about the woman’s health, so we may presume the procedure isn’t meant to treat her for anything specific. If she doesn’t want to go through with it, he says she doesn’t have to, which suggests that it’s something she can opt-out of. Final claim: “simply to let the air in.” It indicates abortion rather than any other optional operation.
In asking, “And you want to?” the lady implies that the guy has anything to say about it, which is another sign that she’s pregnant with him. If it means anything to you, he’s “absolutely happy to go through with [the surgery] if it means something to you,” but he doesn’t mean it literally. Non-abortion in pregnancy is something “to go through with” because having a kid is the end goal. That’s all the man has to say; he adds, “Nobody else is going to do. Because “someone else” is inevitable, “I don’t want anyone.” “the lady will remain infertile until she has surgery.
The Symbolism of Hills like White Elephants.
“It has long been acknowledged that the two sides of the valley of the Ebro reflect two ways of life, one a sterile prolongation of the aimless hedonism the couple has been pursuing, the other a participation in life in its full natural sense,” the introductory paragraph reads. Additionally, critics point out that the actors’ different locations about the railway lines and the valley may be used to demonstrate a broad range of alternative symbolic readings.
When they drink anisette, the girl is reminded of the significance of absinthe in the story by Doris Lanier. Regarding narcotic effects, Lanier says the drink “was enticing not simply because of its reputation as an aphrodisiac.” Every detail in Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” is inserted with the deliberate aim by the author, according to Lanier. She thinks this is the case “The drink’s addictive characteristic is designed to highlight the couple’s addicted lifestyle. A life of travel, sex, drinking, and staring at sights is all there. There is no deeper purpose to it than that “As a matter of fact, The attractiveness and effects of absinthe can also be interpreted in this way. It’s attractive at first, but like a man and woman’s relationship, it “becomes a destroyer of the kid, who is aborted; a destroyer of the girl, who undergoes the physical and mental anguish of aborting the child she loves; and a destroyer of the couple’s connection” Because of the story’s ambiguity, this interpretation implies the pair would terminate their relationship and get an abortion, as well as the young woman’s desire to carry her pregnancy to term.
Hemingway’s short tale “Hills Like White Elephants” has a symbol that requires interpretation to fully grasp its significance and place in the narrative. Throughout Hemingway’s short narrative, there is a tendency to use the same words or phrases repeatedly, which is done for a reason. He did this intentionally to draw attention to the importance of particular topics, like his story’s title. A total of five times does Hemingway allude to hills as “white elephants” in this novel.
In hills like white elephants, the most prevalent interpretation of this remark is that it refers to the usage of color comparisons in the tale. As previously indicated, the contrast between the alcoholic drink’s black licorice and the whiteness of the hills is said to correspond to the drink “absinthe.” Another way to look at it is as a comparison between the snowy slopes and the dry, brown landscape, which both symbolize happiness and sadness. However, the actual significance of the title does not become clear until the subject of obtaining an abortion is brought up between the pair; as the guy remarks, it’s an “awfully easy thing… not really an operation at all… simply to let the air in.”. As a result, the term “white elephants” might refer to the sale of white elephants.
To make the reader think that the sale is somehow linked to abortion, they are encouraged to donate unwanted presents to the cause. In hills like white elephants, the precise translation of the elephant in the room might also signify anything painfully evident that is not to be discussed or spoken to. The phrase “the elephant in the room” is often used by couples going through a rough patch in their relationship, whether it’s due to a breakup, divorce, infidelity, marriage, adoption, or unplanned pregnancy. The two of them have divergent perspectives about this. The father sees the child as “just a white elephant to be gotten rid of,” while the mother only sees it that way because of the father’s perspective.
As depicted in Hills like White Elephants, It will be nice to say things are like white elephants again, and you’ll like it? It is the last time the girl refers to the hills before she decides to have an abortion. As a result, we’ll immediately understand the white elephant reference when we discover that the story’s conflict revolves around an unwanted pregnancy. People with unwanted items can donate them to these sales, raising money for a good cause. A white elephant with a child is depicted in the film “Hills Like White Elephants.”
In Hills like White Elephants, the bamboo curtain is another significant story symbol. Curtains can be seen as a barrier between Jig and the American in many interpretations. While the American drinks in the bar with other “reasonable people,” the girl sits outside, separated from him by a curtain. The beaded curtain is a barrier between Jig, a sensitive girl, and the American, who only notices the drink advertisement and pays no more attention to the curtain than the hills.
Even more specifically, David Gilmore identifies the bead curtain’s symbolism. The American interprets Jig’s grasp of two strands as a rosary, which suggests that Jig is Catholic. To think that Spain, Catholicism, and abortion are all connected is a stretch, and if Jig were praying, she would most likely be praying to turn back the clock so that she would not be entangled with the American. Gilmore states.
When she holds the two strands together, she says she wants things to be the same as they were before. Regarding abortion, a beaded curtain and a rosary-like design lend insight into the girl’s hesitation to go through with it and are almost certainly indicative of her Catholic upbringing, Gary Elliott writes. He goes on to say that while the curtain acts as a physical barrier, her religion, represented by the beads, keeps them apart.
Reception of “Hills Like White Elephants”
As an anti-feminist film, the film “Hills Like White Elephants” has been interpreted as pro-feminist. The anti-feminist perspective emphasizes the idea that the man dominates the woman in the story, and she eventually succumbs to his will by having an abortion. The woman “‘buries her way of seeing as she will bury her child,'” according to Frederick Busch. On the other hand, critics contend that the story ultimately favors women because the protagonist, a woman, makes her own decision.
A reading of “Hills Like White Elephants” by Stanley Renner seems to be the most logical solution to its conflict: “So firmly does the story’s sympathy side with the girl and her values, so strong is her repugnance toward the idea of abortion, and so critical is the story of the male’s self-serving reluctance to shoulder the responsibility of the baby that he has begotten that the reading I have proposed seems the most logical resolution to its conflict.” However, according to Doris Lanier’s research, the man uses the drink she calls “absinthe” as a narcotic to seduce the woman. `