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Essay on Analysis of Hills Like White Elephants, by Ernest Hemingway

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“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 a...


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...d hesitation through the girlfriend and the distance, pressure and strength of the boyfriend. The woman states twice that she “feels fine” although there seems to be a distance between the two now. Another example of why the author is intending to discuss communication is through the use of the title and description of “white elephant” such as an elephant in the room. The two dance around the subject that must be discussed, but are only able to by subtly approaching the subject and not thoroughly talking about it. The author, Ernest Hemingway, seems to use his journalistic background to demonstrate through lack of detail and constant dialog that two people can be in a discussion and yet not be saying anything.





Works Cited

Hemingway, Ernest. Hills Like White Elephants. 1927. The Norton Introduction to Literature. 10th ed. New York: Norton, 2011. 113-17. Print.


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