Literary Analysis of Hills Like White Elephants by Ernest Hemmingway

1013 Words Nov 17th, 2012 5 Pages
Ernest Hemingway's "Hill's Like White Elephants" consists mostly of a dialogue between a pregnant girl and her husband, who would like her to have an abortion. The story defines a two-part theme. The first is a commentary about the way selfishness can corrupt a relationship. The second comments on life and what it means to bear life. This story is developed in a short period of time by Hemingway's use of two central elements, character and setting. Though the setting is heavily symbolic, and characters are drawn mostly in dialogue, both are strongly evocative of the theme.
Though Hemingway's descriptions in "Hills like White Elephants" are few, he uses every word to create a well defined setting. The story is set in the 1920's, which
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Each element of the setting is in someway used to symbolize and develop the theme of the conversation between the two characters.
The topic of the conversation and the way both characters handle it, is the main element that draws their characters into sharp round focus. Though the girl does not want to talk about the issue, they do anyway. From this, the reader gets a clear picture of how each character feels, and reacts to such a brash topic. The man seems to think its no big deal to have an abortion and is drawn as a manipulative jerk. The girl, on the other hand, is submissive, but would like to keep the child growing in her womb. Both characters are drawn quickly, but very effectively, by thier viewpoints.

The man in the story is the antagonist. He is the jerk who knocked up the girl, and doesn't want to take responsibility. He tries to convince the girl that having an abortion is the only thing that will help their relationship. Apparently he has grown cold towards her since she found out that she is pregnant. She asks him if he will love her again if she has it done. He insists that he already does love her, but the reader can see that his selfishness, in only wanting her, has already began to take its toll on the relationship. He tries to convince her that the surgery is a "simple operation," all they do is "let the air in." He tries to tell her that everyone is

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