Hills like White Elephants

Essay by jassaredUniversity, Bachelor'sB+, February 2008

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"Hills like White Elephants" is a story written by Ernest Hemingway where one can draw many parallels between the American and the writer himself. Hemingway uses the tools of allusion and symbolism frequently throughout the story in order to help him illustrate the main issue of communication breakdown. This evidently played a key role in Hemingway's own life and it becomes apparent that through this, there are similarities between the behavior of the American and himself. Conflicts are created through dialogue as these characters face what most readers believe to be the problem of an unexpected pregnancy. Hemingway's uses of detailed descriptions and the idea of a communication breakdown, achieves his desired effect of making the couple seem to be at 'war' with one another. The indications are that this 'unwanted' pregnancy will not successfully be resolved. The couple's plight is further complicated by their inability to convey their difference in opinions to each other.

The time period in which the story was written relates to when Hemingway was having an affair, while his wife was pregnant with his second child. This gave him the incentive for writing "Hills Like White Elephants." The story echoes Hemingway's own ordeals and could have been written as a medium to indirectly express to his then wife of his marital dilemmas.

The most obvious place to start would be the title, "Hills Like White Elephants", for Hemingway the use of symbolism of a white elephant for example the unborn baby, as the cause for the rift between the two lovers. In the article "Hemingway's Hills Like White Elephants" written by Sherlyn Abdoo, she states "It is not the American who is the white elephant in this story; rather, the American perceives the fetus as a ' white elephant' - a costly, burdensome...