Essay about Hills Like White Elephants
“Ernest Hemingway had a desire to write the way Cezanne painted aspects of life. He established many stories throughout his life to reflect upon the idea of Cezanne’s bland paintings. Within Hemingway’s short story, “Hills Like White Elephants” he relies heavily on symbolic perspectives to convey the purpose in the story that can be interpreted in a variety of ways since he succeeded in writing how Cezanne painted. He wrote in a bland way which got his readers to interpret the story in different ways from the symbols hidden within the overall message. Symbolism is the use of symbols to represent a specific idea. Hemingway kept his story a short and simple dialogue between a couple having an argument. Not much information is given on what they were talking about, or the overview of their relationship, but there are symbolic messages and points that show what they were arguing about. In the story, Hills like White Elephants, the couple is arguing about whether or not they should proceed with aborting their unborn fetus.
The title of the story is, Hills like White Elephants, and there is symbolism within the title itself. A “white elephant” is symbolized to something that no one wants. When the girl without a name claims, “They look like white elephants” she is implying that as she looks off into the world, she sees it as a white elephant because she no longer wants the world due to a complication they’re facing (229). The complication that they are currently in remains unclear and unknown, but can be interpreted in different ways. Just like how white elephants are used to symbolize something that is unwanted, an elephant is also often time used to symbolize a baby. A lot of room decor for an unborn baby are based upon elephants because it is a neutral, friendly, caring animal often associated with families. From this information, one way to dissect the argument is that the unnamed couple is discussing about having an abortion for the potential unborn fetus.
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If an elephant can represent a child, and the short story itself is based upon how a couple is facing something that is unwanted in their lives, then this evidence shows that the girl is in fact pregnant with their unwanted child. There are hints that symbolize that this is the true problem they were facing. As the couple was drinking the man said, “It’s really an awfully simple operation, Jig. It’s not really an operation at all” (230). This “operation” though not used in this context actually symbolizes an operation of an abortion. An abortion is an operation to remove the fetus from the human body and from the girl receiving this “operation” like how her friends did, then life will go back to normal for the couple. It is proven to be a quick, painless procedure. The operation itself only lasts around ten to twenty minutes so the boy is trying to convince the girl that this is not a scary thing. They later get into talking about how they would be fine afterwards and that things will go back to how they were. The guy never stops talking about how this was for the best, since he only wanted her. He was content with only her and did not need or desire a new person to enter into his life.
What makes the conversation clear between them are the hidden messages within the words they say to one another that symbolize abortions. The boy said to the girl, “Of course it does. But I don’t want anybody but you. I don’t want anyone else. And I know it’s perfectly simple” (232). This was a direct conversation from the boy to his lover and certain words show that they are in consideration about going through with an abortion. Saying “I don’t want anyone else” or “anyone but you” shows that he only wants his significant other in his life and not a child. He was content with his love for her sand did not want anything drastic to change between them. Also saying the word “its” and describing it as being perfectly simple, he is assuring her that it’s a simple procedure to try and convince her to go through with it so they could live together as they were previously doing.
Hemingway’s short story, “Hills Like White Elephants” he relies heavily on symbolic perspectives to convey the purpose within the story that can be interpreted in a variety of ways. Symbolism allowed him to use symbols to represent a specific idea, in this case the symbols he used represented abortions. Hemingway kept his story a short and simple dialogue between a couple having an argument on whether, or not the girl should remove the fetus from within her. Not much information is given on what they were talking about, except the symbolic messages and points show that they were arguing about extending their family, or keeping it the same. In the story, Hills like White Elephants, the couple is arguing about whether, or not they should proceed with aborting their unborn fetus and this is proven due to the way the author used symbols like “white elephants,” “simple operation,” and the use of words like “I don’t want anybody, but you” to hint that the couple is in consideration about going through with the abortion.”