Topic: Essays

Last updated: March 25, 2019

Symbolize allows authors to say things without saying them. Symbols are used to make a reader dig for the meaning of the story which helps make the story more powerful. “Hills Like Whit Elephants” by Ernest Hemmingway has many symbolizing parts. This story demands you to read between the lines to find the true meaning of it. This story about a young girl names Jig and her American lover debating about on going to a doctor appointment for Jig to have an abortion.

The story begins with an intense description at a train station surround by hills and fields. This scenery tells a lot about the couple’s relationship. There are many symbols in the story that isn’t as recognizable as the hills, the white elephant, and the train station the symbols helps recognize chaos and change. The hills symbolize more than one thing in this story. One is the obstacle we as humans most work through to achieve things. Being that these are hills and not mountain we are able to get over them.

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These hills represent Jig’s unborn baby that is obstacle in the relationship between her in the American man that they could overcome. The hills could also symbolize viewpoints that could be blocked from people viewing that would like in the valley of the hills. This is a representation on how Jig views having the baby and how it’s an opportunity to a better life where the American man views it as a blockaded from have a happy and successful future.

In the story Jig says, “and we can have this all, and we could have everything and every day we make it more impossible.” By saying this she meant his is chance for the couple to partake in a new life and possibilities. The white elephant must be the most obvious symbol representing the unborn baby. A white elephant is a possession that is useless and expensive to maintain but difficult to dispose. It could also be gift that is useless to a person but priceless to another.

The white elephant symbolizes different things for Jig and her lover. For the American man the baby represents a burden to his life. “they look like white elephants” Jig says “I’ve never seen one” the man said. This conversation shows how the man is not open to the possibility of keeping the baby. For Jig this symbolizes how the baby is priceless to Jig because she feels it will give her a new life. This is where the couple’s relationship starts to come to a turn and Jig starts to have a reality check.

The setting of the story is significate and symbolic. Th train station could be one of many things. One side of the train station is green and beautiful which symbolizes new life and new beginnings.

The other side of the station is dry and dead dissipation and death of the unborn baby. The railroad tracks also have an import meaning. The tracks are parallel, so they never run into each other or touch.

In the story Jig watches the man carry the bag to the other side of the station. This is the relationship of the American man and Jig and how they are more than likely going to go separate ways because they both have different desires in life. Ernest Hemmingway did a great job using symbolism thought this story. He did a great job showing a troubled couple having to make the hardest decision in a lifetime that will affect their entire lives. Hemmingway delivers a message that makes you stop and think.

this story is not solely focused on an unwanted pregnancy but a troubled relationship that is dying.


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