Literary Analysis About “Hills Like White Elephants”

11 November 2016

She apparently wants to have the baby and settle down to a normal life, but he wants her to abort their baby so that they can continue their adventures for the world. The girl and the American desperation revels the necessity of taking responsibility for the one’s own life. The theme, character and symbols of the role of the woman in “Hills like White Elephants,” are helpful to discuss the story because many sides of being a woman are shown, even though there hourglass are only two female characters. The theme in this story is talking versus communication.

Hills like White Elephants are a short story about a conversation between the American man and his girlfriend. Neither of the speakers can communicate with the other. The story is mostly about how they discuss the issue, what choices they explore, what choices they do not explore, and how they go to get a clear resolution about the issue. Both persons are talking, but neither wants to understand the other’s point of view of the issue. The American man is trying to convince the girl to have an operation, which is understood to be an abortion that never mentioned by this name in the story.

Literary Analysis About “Hills Like White Elephants” Essay Example

He tells her he loves her, and that everything between them will go back to the way it used to be. Meanwhile, she wants the child, she knows that have a child will destroy their relationship, and if she goes through with the abortion their relationship will alter radically. Here is somewhat that the girl and the American reaches a crucial point, “If Jig gives in to her lover’s wishes, their live cannot, as she well knows, be the same as before” (Wyche 59). They struggle to communicate their opposing viewpoints on the course their relationship should take.

But the story ends without clear resolution, so this does not show is they manage to find common ground. The character of the woman in Hills like White Elephants is less assertive and persuasive. According with the literary criticism of Paul Rakin that says, “The story emerges as a series of parries that demonstrate the girl’s superiority is terms of her cognitive and cognitive intelligence, as well as her experience, her scathing wit, and her facility with ironic sarcasm” (Rakin 234). She appears confused and mentally/emotional weak.

She is unclear about what she wants and needs, and she is unable to make up her mind. She is unfamiliar with the language of Spain. Everything she does in influenced by the American man, in fact she cannot order drinks from the bartender on her own without having to rely on the man’s ability to speak Spanish. She is seen as a victim of the American man. She looks like a woman forced into having an abortion against her will. She is unlikely to encounter even the limited insight and empathy that a well-intentioned, loving man might provide alone with the American.

She has an ability to take in her surroundings and find ways to diffuse the man’s anger as are showing here, “She makes another observation and changes the subject” (Rakin 235). She could also expect a wide variety of assistance if she did choose to raise a child on her own. She wants to accept the new identity of being parent, while he wants to reject it. She is willing to try new things, but she doesn’t know what is right or not. The symbols in this story are vague leaving much to interpretation and imagination for the reader. These symbols from the story are the hills, white elephants, and the railroad station.

The hills symbolize big obstacles that she must climb, but they are not enormous mountains. This represents the fact that the girl’s baby is a major obstacle in her life and the American’s life, but it is not the end of their life. She thinks they could make it through, but he doesn’t wants to accept it. Hills are beautiful and natural. In other words, they have always been in the same place, and they will always be that way they are. This shows that being pregnant is no simple thing. It also shows how the girl and the American settling down would be a necessity with a baby.

In spite of the girl’s decision, it is not something that the girl and the American man will be able forget about. The white elephants symbolize the girl’s unborn child. This is the reality of what Jig is going through. She has a baby which is, at this time in her life, useless to her. This story uses this play on words to develop the idea of Jig’s possibility of having an unexpected child. The girl later retracts the observation, so this means that she wants to keep the baby after all. This can be thought of as the image of the swollen breasts and abdomen of a pregnant woman, and the prenatal dream of mother.

The symbol of the railroad station is symbolic of being at the crossroads of life during a time of crisis. The American man and the girl cannot stay at the station forever because they are traveling and there will be change. This is symbolizes the decision of whether or not to keep the child. There must be a decision of where to go next, either keep or abort the child is a difficult decision. In conclusion, Hills like White Elephants are a story about crisis. The American and the woman have a relationship, and they have been traveling for Europe. They are talking about an “operation” sitting at the train station.

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