We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Hills Like White Elephants Essay Sample

The whole doc is available only for registered users OPEN DOC

Get Full Essay

Get access to this section to get all help you need with your essay and educational issues.

Get Access

Hills Like White Elephants Essay Sample

Ernest Hemingway uses symbols found in dialogue and setting to reveal that making decisions requires a great deal of thought, and can sometimes not be mutual between couples. The theme for this story I feel is communication. Clearly they are arguing about something that is of somewhat great importance to Jig. In a sense they aren’t Seeing Eye to eye for some reason, and instead of talking it out, he clearly wants her to just be happy. I think that the symbolism for this story is the mountains. I believe that in the beginning of the story, that they are comparing something to the mountains, and I feel that he is just trying to get her mind off of something and so he makes a statement about the mountains. In the text it says that mountains are a symbol for Holy place (inspiration), safety, and strength. (Clugston, 2010) I’m not sure where the holy place comes into play, but I can see where the safety comes in, he wants her to be happy and safe and with going along with what she is saying then, he is referring to the mountains as a safety net perhaps. The plot of this short story takes place in a train station between Barcelona and Madrid. While waiting at the train station for the next train they decide to sit and have a beer and try some new drinks out. While waiting they start talking about their life together.

He compares her to a mountain and she isn’t really impressed, but rather upset about the comparison. The point of view for this short story is in third person omniscient. The narrator is basically a fly on the wall and basically overhearing what the couple is talking about. The narrator is giving her point of view of what is going on with the couple and what the narrator is seeing. The tone for this story I believe is that the narrator is very controlled and gives us very little information outside the conversation between the man and woman. The narrator gives us the tone that there is some friction between the couple but they aren’t showing it at the point in the train station in front of other passengers. The setting of this short story is in a train station to highlight that the relationship of the couple is at a crossroads. The train station is symbolizing the crossroads because they are simply waiting for the next train and this is basically a stop until they reach the next train. The characters in the short story are kept to a few short people. There is the American woman who the American man calls “Jig”, the American man, and the bar maid. The symbols in this story would be the mountains. In the text it says that mountains are a symbol for Holy place (inspiration), safety, and strength.

This couple seems to be going through something that Hemmingway wanted us to read into rather than just tell us what is going on with the couple. I feel that the mountains are showing that the girl is going through a tough time in her relationship with the man and she has had enough of him telling her what to do. I believe that maybe she has had enough of him and wants to end things right there at the train station. The comment of him comparing her to a mountain probably was the final straw and she wants to start a new life with someone else and somewhere else. I feel that they are going to go their separate ways and never see each other again. “On first reading the title, one assumes the comparison may merely be to the color and to the rounded contour of the hills that constitute part of the setting, a quite literal reference.

This impression is reinforced by the first sentence, the subject of what are “long and white” hills. The second time they are mentioned, they are contrasted with the countryside, which is brown and dry, suggestive of the limitations an aridity of the relationship of the man and the woman, which begins to unfold an which is the basis of the conflict and the meaning of the story.” (Weeks Jr., 1980)I think that he was using the summer symbol to show us the Jig was showing some maturity and seeking a mature way out of her relationship. Hemingway expressed this in saying that it was hot and dry.

In conclusion, Ernest Hemingway uses symbols found in dialogue and setting to reveal that making decisions requires a great deal of thought, and can sometimes not be mutual between couples. The man was a genius when it came to using things to express what he was thinking about. I believe that he used the scenery of the train station to express what he was trying to say without truly saying anything. Using the mountains and train station was just a way of expressing something that he didn’t want to just come out and say.


Clugston, R. W. (2010). Journey into Literature. San Deigo: Bridgepoint Education Inc. Weeks Jr., L. (1980). HEMINGWAY HILLS: SYMBOLISM IN ‘HILLS LIKE WHITE ELEPHANTS’. Studies In Short Fiction, pp. 17(1),75.

We can write a custom essay

According to Your Specific Requirements

Order an essay

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

A Critical Analysis of Jake Barnes

In Ernest Hemingway’s novel The Sun Also Rises the character Jake Barnes illustrates the tragic fate of the lost generation. Although literary critics debate the source of Hemingway’s purpose for the protagonist, most of them agree that Jake Barnes portrays the moral, psychological, and physical decay of the postwar generation. His wound impedes him from achieving a loving relationship with Brett. His experiences in San...

The Hemingway’ Way

We have different perspectives on a lot of things and for most…. it’s how to be a man or a hero depending on how you look at it. But it’s not about heroism. It’s the views on how to be a man (at least to me). The Hemingway’ way is different from most writers but it might just be the most influential. That is just...

The Short Stories Of Ernest Hemingway

In several of his short stories, Ernest Hemingway uses one or more animals as symbols around which the stories revolve. As central symbols, Hemingway’s animals are the manifestation of the psychological states and emotional desires of the main characters in the stories and are used to enable the reader’s apprehension of the often-unstated psychological forces that motivate them. Besides, Hemingway is the writer who takes...

About Hemingway's Short Stories

He only offered his wife’s insistence of getting by her own with “Don’t get wet” (Hemingway), without providing the umbrella. Deep in her heart, the wife really wanted the care, the protection. But without the cape or umbrella, she could only think of going along under the eaves. The wife’s thought of saving the cat in essence is the saving of herself in an unconscious...

Ernest Hemingway and his novels

Literature has always been a mirror of life; it reflects the social events, and offers pleasure to the readers. In other words, the author’s life is reflected via writing strategies and via the literary devices used by him/herself which is obviously true to Ernest Hemingway. His short story narrates his trips, his real situations and his true relationship with others. It is said that he...

Get Access To The Full Essay
Materials Daily
100,000+ Subjects
2000+ Topics
Free Plagiarism
All Materials
are Cataloged Well

Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website. If you need this or any other sample, we can send it to you via email.

By clicking "SEND", you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails.
Sorry, but only registered users have full access

How about getting this access

Become a member

Your Answer Is Very Helpful For Us
Thank You A Lot!


Emma Taylor


Hi there!
Would you like to get such a paper?
How about getting a customized one?

Couldn't Find What You Looking For?

Get access to our huge knowledge base which is continuously updated

Next Update Will Be About:
14 : 59 : 59
Become a Member