HILLS LIKE WHITE ELEPHANT 4
HillsLike White Elephant
Symbolismin “Hills like white Elephant”
EarnestHemingway “Hillslike White Elephant”is a perfect example of a literary piece which heavily utilizessymbols. It is a story revolving around a man of American decent anda lady by the name Jig. The site of the story is in a railway stationwhere the two are waiting for a train while arguing the lady shouldprocure an abortion. In the story, Hemingway uses a number of symbolsin the development of the main theme.
Thisshort story has three main symbols which include the railway station,white elephant, and the hills. All these symbols are used for thedevelopment of the main theme which revolves around the decision ofthe two characters. While the lady ponders on the happiness she willget after keeping the child, the American man fails to reason beyondtheir current situation and pushes for the abortion. Jig stares atthe hills and likens them to white elephants “Theylook like white elephants”(Hemingway, 2003). Her counterpart then replies that he has neverseen a “white elephant”. The lady then tells him that he wouldnever have seen a white elephant at any time. These statements aresymbolic and have a special meaning relating to the challenges thelady is facing. Although the man sees that the lady’s baby will bea challenge, the lady looks at the various possibilities ofovercoming such a challenge. From the story, one learns that althoughthe baby is quite an obstacle in the lady’s life, she still feelsthat she will deliver her baby successfully and still make it inlife.
Hillsalso represent the different views which the two main characters havepertaining to the pregnancy. While Jig observes the hill andidentifies opportunities, the man fails to see anything beyond thehill. The American man does not believe that they will still live agood life if they allow the baby to be born. In essence, the manfeels that the “hill”, in this case the unborn baby, will be astumbling block towards a good life. Hills are natural features whichare quite beautiful in their setting and they never change. In thisstory, hills are used to prove the fact that the only way the couplecan settle down is through the birth of their baby. Additionally, itshows that pregnancy is quite a challenge to anyone. Regardless ofwhatever the lady decides, she will have to contend with her decisionin future. The author may have used hills to represent women andtheir pregnancy. Just like trees are stationary, being pregnant alsoimmobilizes women to a point where they stay at one place for long.
Thesymbol of a white elephant represents the unborn baby. While childrenare a gift from God, when they come unexpectedly, they are anobstacle to the good life of their mothers due to the cost that comeswith their upkeep. This is the same way Jig sees the unborn child inthe sense that it will add no value to her life. Finally, use of therailway station is also symbolic and has a deeper meaning. Itrepresents a moment of crisis which requires critical resolutions tobe made. The symbol is used to show that, although the couple isstuck in terms of the decision to make, at one point, they will haveto part with whatever decision and change their lives. The same oneway one cannot stay at the railway station forever. In essence, useof symbols in the story enables the author to develop his story in aunique way.
Hemingway,E (2003).Hills like white elephants. Boston: Bedford. Print.