Hillsl Like White Elephants, By Ernest Hemingway , Analysis Of Content And Style

1042 words - 4 pages

Hills Like White Elephants, a widely anthologized and much-discussed story, offers a glimpse at spare prose and understated dialogue that represents Hemingway's mastery of style. The story is told entirely through dialogue in a conversation between a young woman and a man waiting for a train in Spain. As they talk, it becomes clear that the young woman is pregnant and that the man wants her to have an abortion. Through their tight, brittle conversation, much is revealed about their personalities. But at the same time, much about their relationship remains hidden. At the end of the story it is still unclear that what decision has or has not been made, or what will happen to these two characters waiting for a train on a platform in Spain.The two central characters, the American man and the young woman whose nationality is not disclosed, sit at a table waiting for a train to Madrid. As they sit drinking beer, the woman notes the distant white hills and she comments that they look like White Elephants. The man's response and her reaction to it hint at tension between them. The tension continues to simmer through various attempts at small talks and the ordering of more drinks in the later of the story. Eventually, on the third drink, the man raises the subject of an operation he is encouraging the woman to have. It becomes apparent that the operation is an abortion. The man assures the woman that it is natural and that he will be there to support her if she goes ahead with it. And he tells her that they will go on as before. The woman seems unsure about having the abortion. When the man says he has known lots of people who done it, she says she has too and adds with a hint of sarcasm that they were so happy afterwards.When the man tells her she doesn't have to do it if she doesn't want to; she finally becomes serious knowing that the issue needs to be discussed. She questions whether things will be like they were before and whether the man will still love her. The man tries to reassure her by saying that things will be better between them when he doesn't have to worry about their current situation. The woman seems persuaded, and says she will do it to make things fine and because she doesn't care about herself.Later when the woman leaves the table and wanders to the edge of the station, she looks at the scenery. In contrast to the scenery already noted, on the other side of the tracks she sees fields and trees and even a river. Her mood seems to change when she returns to the table. The landscape has mirrored their choice on one side of barren aridity and on the other side of fertile life. Their relationship has been changed by his attempts to manipulate her and this will never be back. His actions have made their future barren as she thinks.She tells the man to stop talking when he tries to placate her with sensing her mood shift. She indicates that it is too late for him to...

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