Hills like White Elephants analysis

Hills like White Elephants

‘Hills like White Elephants’ is a short story that was written by Ernest Hemingway. Ernest was an American novelist best known for his literary skills. The narration Hills like White Elephants, was published in 1927. The setting of the narrative is a train station that is in a valley surrounded by hills and trees. The main characters of the story are an American man and his girlfriend who were awaiting a train heading to Madrid. As the story shows the dilemma that most women go through, it is impressive how the author manages to write without mentioning the word abortion-which is the main subject.

As the story begins, the readers are aware of the disagreement between the couple. “Well, let’s try and have a fine time (Hemingway 2).” From this statement, the author informs his audience that the characters were trying to stay away from some argument. They had an unresolved matter that seemed to be bothering the girlfriend most. The technique of using few words to imply a lot is one of the aspects that I found to be amazing about Ernest’s work (Sustana). Not many novelists can exhibit the iceberg theory. The goodness of this technique is that an author’s publication tends not to have many pages, which many readers find attractive.

Though it is not indicated in the book that the American guy was forcing the girlfriend to have an abortion, readers can deduce this from the way emphasis is put on the operation that would save the couple’s relationship. Ernest paints for his audience that the couple had a wonderful life together before the lady conceived. The two main characters must have been dating for quite a short period as they were not ready to start a family. The author was able to show how most women are lured into abortion despite it not being something that they approve. Most women in relationships fear that having a child will negatively affect their relationship with their lovers. The title of the story is symbolic; a white elephant is something that is not wanted. The unborn child in the story was not welcomed well. The author metaphorically compared the baby to the hills. As the story began, the girl said that the hills that surrounded the train station looked like white elephants. However, as the story continues, she changes her thoughts about the hills as acknowledge their beauty. From this, readers realize that the girl will not go forth with the operation and is ready to raise the child.

Although most people might be in love with this technique of using few words to speak out a lot, I find it confusing. After reading the novel for the first time, one is left with many questions which I bet not most people can find their correct answers. Moreover, Ernest’s works force readers to assume many things to connect the dots. For starters, we are not told for sure that the girl was pregnant, and if she was maybe the American man was not responsible. The ending of the story is also another part that did not seem to work well for me. We do not know how the man reacted to the decision that the girlfriend made of not going through with the operation.  

In conclusion, the lady was in a dilemma of agreeing with her boyfriend or not. She feared how their life would turn if she decided to have the abortion. The author showed that the man wanted the abortion although he pretended to be giving the girlfriend ample opportunity to choose what she wanted.  Now that she discarded it, I think the author should have explained or at least give readers more hint on what transpired.

Works Cited

Hemingway, Ernest. Hills Like White Elephants: Short Story. HarperCollins Canada, 2013. Accessed 21 Sept. 2019.

Sustana, Catherine. “”Hills Like White Elephants” by Hemingway: An Analysis.” ThoughtCo, 5 Feb. 2014, www.thoughtco.com/hills-like-white-elephants-analysis-2990497#:~:targetText=Ernest%20Hemingway’s%20%22Hills%20Like,woman%20is%20ambivalent%20about%20it. Accessed 30 Nov. 2019.