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Hills Like White Elephants By Ernest Hemmingway

653 words - 3 pages

Sometimes people are faced with tough decisions that can change their life forever. In the short story, Hills Like White Elephants, Ernest Hemmingway tells how a couple faces the decision of whether or not to have an operation done that would change their life. While the two main characters, The American and Jig, are at the train station they are having a last minute conversation on whether or not they should have their child aborted. Through symbols, setting, and the character’s actions, Hemmingway reveals the theme that people communicate and show their feelings or opinions on matters through more ways than just obvious verbal assertions.
Throughout the story Hemmingway uses a multitude of symbols to show how Jig really feels about having an abortion. At the beginning of the story, Jig says, “They [hills] look like white elephants” (96). White elephants are things given as a gift to a person because they are unwanted by the original owner. In the story, the white elephant was the unborn child that Jig was conceiving. Through this symbol, Hemmingway shows that Jig was trying to tell The American that she did want the child. Notice that Jig is not boldly stating to The American that she wants to have the child aborted. To also help support this, in the story Jig was drinking while pregnant. This lack of care for the child helps prove that Jig does not want to have the child.
At this point in the story The American is encouraging Jig to have the operation. It is evident throughout the story that he is very manipulative, but at the same time he does not want to upset Jig, even though he does. This leads to the symbolism behind Jig’s name. A jig is a type of fishing lure, and Hemmingway loved to go fishing. Keeping this in mind, Hemmingway gave Jig her name because she was being lured into having the abortion by The American. The American and Jig are talking about the...

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