Analysis Of Hills Like White Elephants, By Ernest Hemingway

1231 words - 5 pages

“Hills Like White Elephants” by Earnest Hemingway is a short story from 1927 that describes a couple drinking at a train station in Spain, and the story is relayed by an outside narrator. The third person narrator in this story gives the reader the events pieced together, told afterward, and translated to English. It is clear throughout the story that the girl (who is never named) does not speak Spanish, while her boyfriend does. When he first orders two beers, he does so in Spanish through stating “Dos cervezas,” which emphasizes that the gentleman is indeed speaking Spanish, but the narrator is translating the affairs for the reader (Hemingway 114). The narrator also tells the story with bare minimum amount of detail, focusing instead on the dialog between the two characters. Even in that sense, the dialog is merely the conversation back and forth, with little explanation or details. The narrator only will throw in a “she said” every few sentences, presumably to keep the reader on track with whom is speaking, but otherwise does not add any information. This allows the reader to interpret the true meanings behind the word, without the influence of the narrator. The narrator provides a great insight through looking back at the boyfriend and girlfriend’s actions, and the boyfriend himself gives even further insight to the story.
The man, or boyfriend, in the story embodies the traits of masculinity. He is focused on his desires and does his best to control the situation at hand. Throughout the story, the boyfriend and his girlfriend are discussing an operation, most likely an abortion, and the man is trying to convince his girlfriend to have one. The gentleman avoids the topic at hand when he does not want to talk about it, such as when his girlfriend subtly tries to bring up the topic of children by mentioning the hills that look like white elephants (Hemingway 114). The boyfriend also does his best to convince his girlfriend by baking off of the topic and stating that “if you don’t want to you don’t have to” although it is clear this is not where he truly stands (Hemingway 115). The boyfriend is controlling the situation, does not listen to the girlfriend and is trying to reason with her in a way that is distant and strong. In the end of the story, he sees that the other people are “waiting reasonably for the train” although he does not seem to view his girlfriend in this sense (Hemingway 117). It is possible that the two will part ways, as the boyfriend does not seem to be on the same page as the girlfriend and the story ends with the boyfriend and girlfriend at different places. In fact, the location of the two and setting is another vital part of the story that helps bring further insight to the meaning.
The setting of the story “Hills Like White Elephants” is at a train station, where the train is arriving in 5 minutes (Hemingway 117). The boyfriend and girlfriend are drinking at the bar before the train comes, which is all the two do...

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