What could be - an analysis of Hemingways 'Hills like White Elephants"

Essay by atigg929College, UndergraduateA+, April 2008

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In Hemingway's' 'Hills Like White Elephants', readers are exposed to one character whose physical, emotional, and/or ethical flaws are at the core of the dominant conflict in the narrative.

Thinking of what the 'White Elephant' in Hemingway's 'Hills Like White Elephants' might represent, I think of that unwanted gift that nobody wants to claim. It is through Jig's observation that the Spanish hills in the distance look like white elephants.

With various landscapes and scenery, Hemingway is able to give the reader insight into the couple's conflict without actually saying it. Within the introductory paragraph he opens with, "The hills across the valley of the Ebro were long and white." In this opening reference to the hills, Hemingway has painted an image of fertility. "On this side there was no shade and no trees… (line 1)," within this second sentence, Hemingway is painting the picture of infertility or barren.

Other references such as, "…, to keep the flies out (line 4)," or one found in the second to last sentence. "It was very hot…," also portray images of infertility or something barren.

In this realistic story, the white elephant represents an unwanted gift, which is exactly how the American feels about the unborn child. Jig is indecisive about the decision. She realizes the possibilities, yet she has difficulties communicating her desire to keep the child. To Jig, this unborn child is a possibility of a life without the constant travel, hotels, and drinks. Jig portrays discontentment with the life of travel when she says, "I wanted to try this new drink. That's all we do isn't it - look at things and try new drinks (line 25, dialogue)?" The question she poses makes their lifestyle appear unfulfilling.

The American's immediate dismissal shows his detachment to the...