ErnestHemingway is one of the most renowned writers in American history.This story is full of symbolism that can be interpreted in variousways. My comprehension of the tale came about after several readingsand reviews. It seems hard to understand at first but with carefulreadings it becomes easier to interpret. In the essay, my main pointrevolves around symbolism. I draw various instances that depictsymbolism and liken them to the actual meanings. The main symbolicaspects include the title, drinks, and the scenery. I would wish thereader to understand the story from my perspective.
Hillslike White Elephants
The“Hills like White Elephants” by Hemingway tends to be achallenging tale that can confuse the reader. Additionally, one candraw numerous conclusions from the story. The mystifying conversationbetween the casts can leave one with different unanswered queries ofwhat the couple is talking. It is may also be difficult tocomprehend. The tale also leaves one with countless questions thatimplore one to utilize symbolism in order to understand. The authoremployed symbolism in the title, drinks, and scenery to divulge thereality on the relation between the couple. As such, this paper willdwell on the symbolism acts and the how well the author utilizes themto convey the relationship between the couple.
Thestory “Hills like White Elephants” by Hemingway was first printedin 1927. Hemingway is a popular American journalist and writer knownfor the range of stories that relate with the daily lifestyles of thepeople. “Hills like White Elephants” is a tale about a coupletraveling in Spain while attempting to use new drinks. The couplemoves around the country, trying new drinks in all the places theygo. While residing in the various hotels, the lady becomes pregnant.This results in a quarrel since the man wanted her to abort while shewas ready to keep the child. But because the girl was scared oflosing the man, she is confused on what to do. Even though the manwould say abortion was not mandatory, the girl, jig, was sure it wasthe only way to make him happy. It would mean a lot to him if sheaborted rather than keep the child. Symbolism is a crucial aspect ofthis tale since it livens it. Via symbolism, the reader gets thecomplete comprehension of the circumstance as well as feelingsurrounding the couple [ CITATION Nou14 l 1033 ].
Byusing the title “Hills like White Elephants,” the author tries toillustrate Jig’s pregnancy. The sentiment white elephant denotessomething that poses a great burden. For instance, in the Asianstates, people would worship albino elephants. However, the ownerswould feed them with special foods while constructing a place whereother would come and pray. Owning one was considered a blessing, yetit was a burden in terms of time and money. As such, the titlerightly signifies Jig’s situation. She considered the baby to be ablessing, but it was difficult for her to nurture. She was not in aposition to offer adequate care to the baby, even though it was ablessing. Even as the man states that he is yet to see a whiteelephant, jig replies, No you wouldn’t have [CITATION Mar031 p 476 l 1033 ].”It symbolizes the fact that the man does not consider the baby as abreathing, living human and only wants it to be extracted. He is notappreciative of the blessing that they have received.
Thetale’s scenery exemplifies Jig’s life as well as her decision. Inthe sentiment, “On this side there was no shade and no trees,” itimplies that the setting is plain and lifeless just like the life ofJig [CITATION Mar031 p 476 l 1033 ].Since no shade exists, then it is most probably hot anduncomfortable. It typifies Jig’s own uncomfortable situation thatincluded traveling around. The sentiment “No trees on the otherside” illustrates that she is torn between the two decisions. Onone hand, it was full of life and happiness, while on the other, itwas bare and lifeless. Jig had a decision to make between the twoaspects. She could abort the child and continue to live a boring andlifeless life. On the other hand, she could opt to keep the baby andlive a life of happiness[CITATION Mar031 l 1033 ].
Thetwo railroad tracks are another scenery that characterizes therelationship between the couple. The tracks could not touch sincethey were parallel to each other. It is a symbol of the two loverswho are intimate but very distant. They suffer from communicationissues since none of them wants to say what they actually mean.Although they share an intimate relationship, they lack propercommunication to state what they would wish to see in their relation.This aspect prevents them from connecting. In addition to that, thepaths have two directions. With only two directions, it symbolizesthat jig had two options i.e. keep or get rid of the baby. The factthat the paths were parallel also signifies that the two would notreach an amicable decision that satisfies both of them [ CITATION Nou14 l 1033 ].
Thesentiments from Jig as she tastes the alcohol also typifies theirrelation. As they move around, the couple would try out new drinkseach time. However, after tasting a new drink, Jig states,“Everything tastes like licorice. Especially all the things youhave waited so long for like absinthe [CITATION Mar031 p 477 l 1033 ].”It is evident that the couple were unhappy, particularly afterlearning about the pregnancy as symbolized by absinthe. This drinkleaves a bitter aftertaste that overwhelmsthe original sweetness. It is a symbol of how Jig was feeling i.e.bittersweet. She had the desire to settle down, but the man seeminglydid not want such. Additionally, the two lovebirds shared a sweetrelation, traveling around. However, it left a bitter taste due tothe pregnancy and the abortion threat.
Inanother portrayal of the hills, one may think their white colorsignifies that of an aborted infant. However, this not the case sincesuch a sign would mean they were ready to keep the baby. The whitecolor describes the elephants typifying the unborn baby. Just like itwas hard to look after the white elephant in the Asian countries, thesame befalls Jig. Jig agrees to abort the baby contrary to what manyreaders would think. She opted to do get rid of the child so as tosustain their relationship [CITATION Mar031 p 476 l 1033 ].
Ingeneral, a white elephant typically implies what people do not want,which in this case is the unborn child. Jig’s initial remarks aboutthe hills in relation to the white elephants appear to be casual, butthen it aids as a segue. She would later withdraw this sentimentimplying that the hills were not similar to white elephants hintingthat she would want to keep the baby. As a matter of fact, she thinksthe hills looked like white elephants at first glance. However, aftercarefully viewing them, they appear to be lovely. Likening the hillsand, symbolically, the baby to elephants also evokes themanifestation “the elephant in the room,” which is a euphemismfor something apparent that no one wishes to converse. This tale canbe rather confusing. Looking at the symbolism in the title, drinks,and scenery, the reader comprehends the relationship between thecouple. The pregnancy makes the relation bitter as illustrated by theaspects discussed above. While Jig wants to keep the baby, the manproposes abortion. The couple is distant from one another, and as thesymbols imply, they may never make a decision that suits them both.
Alashjaai, Nouf Fahad. "The Interpersonal Relationship between Jig and the American in Hemingway’s Elephants”." The English Literature Journal (2014): 200-205.
Hemingway, Ernest. "Hills Like White Elephants." (2003): 475-478.
Hemingway,Ernest. "Hills Like White Elephants." (2003): 475-478.
Thisis the primary source from where the essay is based.
Alashjaai,Nouf Fahad. "The Interpersonal Relationship between Jig and theAmerican in Hemingway’s Elephants”." TheEnglish Literature Journal(2014): 200-205.
Thesource dwells on the relationship between Jig and the American.Through their relation, various aspects of symbolism can be drawn. Assuch, this particular article outlines how the two relate i.e. thefun moments and the issues that emanate from the pregnancy. Thearticle is also published and the fact that it is a current sourcemakes it credible. The reader can trust the source since it is drawnfrom the English Literature Journals.