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Ernest Hemingway’s Hills like White Elephants.

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Essay title: Ernest Hemingway’s Hills like White Elephants.

Ernest Hemingway is an incredible writer often known for what he leaves out of stories and not for what the story tells. His main emphasis in Hills Like White Elephants seems to be symbolism. Webster's dictionary defines symbolism as the art or practice of using symbols. Hemingway was a master at investing the things that he wrote about with a symbolic meaning. He expresses invisible or intangible ideas in a way that makes you feel like you can reach out and touch them. He uses this technique to emphasize the importance of ideas. Hemingway leaves out the important details of this short story by symbolizing their meaning.

This short story is filled with symbolism. I had to read the story multiple times, and I'm sure that there are many that I will never find. Even the title can be analyzed a lot deeper to see the symbolism that is used in it. The "hills" can be associated with the shape of the female body during pregnancy and the "white elephants" symbolizes something that requires a lot of care and can be very expensive. Maybe, Hemingway is referring to a newborn baby. The story is about a man and a woman taking a train to get an abortion. The train is supposed to show change and movement, something this couple appears to need because their life is very routine.

In the story, he describes a curtain made of strings of bamboo beads that are hung across the open door into the bar, to keep out flies. The bamboo beads not only keep them from their problems, but it also seems like it keeps them separated from all of the other people in the bar. Hemingway then tells us that the train will stop at this junction for two minutes and then go to Madrid. The train only stopping for two minutes is to show the importance of the girl's decision to have the abortion. It is a huge life changing decision that must be made immediately. There is no time for her to sit around and think about it.

Next, the guy and the girl are sitting at the bar deciding what they should have to drink. The girl takes off her hat and puts it on the table. This action symbolizes her putting her feelings on the table to talk about them with the man. Instead of coming straight out and talking about their problems they decide have two large beers. The act of consuming alcohol is another way for them to run away from their problems. Later on, the man and the woman are talking and the woman says, "They look like white elephants." He replies to her comment by saying, "I've never seen one." The White elephant is used to symbolize something that is valuable but also hard to maintain. The man has never had to deal with a situation like this before in his life. Her reply is "No, you wouldn't have." She believes that he is a coward who has never had to face a problem like this before.

The couple continues to drink throughout the story. At one point the girl shows that she has some faith in what the man thinks by asking him how they should order their drinks, with or without water. The couple then orders two Anis del Toro. This is a new drink for the girl, so she is curious and wonders what it will taste like. She hopes that the drink will taste different than others she has tried but finds that it tastes like licorice. The girl then says, "Everything tastes like licorice. Especially all the things you've waited so long for, like absinthe." When she says this, it refers to how she thought he would be different than other men she had previously dated. But now that she is committed, she realizes that he is just like all the other guys she has dated in the past. Later in the story she adds to this feeling of repetition by saying, "That's all we do, isn't it- look at things and try new drinks." She really seems to be bored with the same things this relationship continues to produce.


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