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Ernest Hemingway's Hills Like White Elephants

743 words - 3 pages

WC: 754

Title: Sacred Moments

Close interpretation of the story "Hills Like White Elephants" by Ernest Hemingway leads the reader to an issue that has plagued society for decades. Understanding of the human condition is unveiled in the story line, the main setting, and through the character representation. The main characters in the story are an American man and a female named Jig. The conflict about abortions is an issue that still faces society today. Architectural and atmospheric symbolisms are used to set the mood and outline the human condition. The love bond between the man and Jig is strong; however, the more powerful bond between Jig and her unborn child is sacred.
Many years ago our society was filled with moral and ethical values, unfortunately they have all but disappeared. Hemingway captures a moment in history when the tides were turning from an ethical and ordered society to a less ordered and much less ethical society. Using his ability to manipulate the readers’ imagination, Hemingway creates a realistic setting that conveys powerful and raw-edged emotions. Through the use of various landscapes and structures he is able to give the reader insight into the human condition without actually telling what it is. A good example of this is the hot, dry atmospheric conditions that set the mood in the story and communicate a sense of tension to the reader. The expression "They look like white elephants"(23) is a metaphor used to imply the sacredness of white elephants in certain South American cultures in relation to Jig’s unborn child.
The train station itself is another way the writer uses the setting to portray the human condition in this story. The station, a common ground or meeting place, is representative of the relationship between the American and Jig. The tracks leading in and out of the station describe the emotional pathways each of them takes. The American is almost exactly opposite to Jig, free spirited and not wanting a change. Jig is love struck and torn. She has to decide between her love for the American man and her love of her unborn child. The American is set on convincing Jig that there is no harm in what she is...

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