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Hills Like White Elephants
Transcript of Hills Like White Elephants
- Started his career as a writer in a newspaper office at 17.
- When he was a reporter, he was taught many methods of writing that later reflected into his writing. EX : Short, factual sentences w/o too many negatives to present facts in his articles.
- Central Theme : One must confront danger and live honorably.
-Characters : Tough, at times primitive people whose courage and honesty are set against the brutal ways of modern society, and who in this confrontation lose hope and faith.
- Often used his own life experience in his stories.
Ernest Miller Hemingway
1 to 39
40 to 82
83 to 110
As a WRITER..
As a PERSON..
- Grew up as 2nd oldest of 6 kids in a very strict household.
- He didn't agree with his parents' values and oppressive sense of morality.
- After high school, he wanted to either enlist in the army or become a writer, but his father refused & told him to go to college instead, so he left home & began reporting for the Kansas City Star.
- After leaving the Star, he went to Red Cross where he worked as an ambulance driver in Europe during WW1, during which he was seriously injured.
- After WW1, he lived in Paris for a little before coming back to America.
- Despite his success as a writer, he suffered with depression & alcoholism most of his adult life.
- He was married multiple times & had many mistresses.
- Committed suicide at the age of 61 after his mental & physical health started to decline.
- On a hot day, an American & his female companion [Jig] is at a station waiting for a train to Madrid.
- The express from Barcelona isn't coming for another 40 minutes, so the 2 sit & enjoy some beer.
- Jig makes a comment about how the
hills nearby look like white elephants. To this,
the American says that he's never seen one before.
- They order another drink & start to argue about the taste.
- The American starts scolding the girl & says that they should try to have fun. The girl responds that she is having fun & takes back her
comment about the
elephant looking hills.
- The American starts talking about an "operation". He tells her that it's "awfully simple" & that "they just let the air in."
- Obviously concerned, Jig starts asking
him what will happen after she gets this
"operation" & he says that they'll go back to
how they were before & that it's the fix to all
- Clearly still conflicted, the girl agrees to the operation so long
as he still loves her & that they could live happily
- Seeing that she was still distressed, the American tells
Jig that if she really didn't
want to go through with the operation, she shouldn't. But
in his opinion, it was the best road to take.
- After arguing for a bit, the girl tells the
American to shut up.
- The bartender brings the couple another round of
drinks & informs them that the train will be arriving in 5 minutes.
- With this news, the American takes their bags & brings it to the platform. When he comes back into the bar & asks the girl how she's feeling. She says that she's fine & that
nothing's wrong with her.
trying to tell us?
Let's Break It Down!
- White Elephants : Something that nobody wants, which is the girl's unborn child.
- At the beginning of the story, when the girl says that the hills look like
white elephants, she's trying to subtly bring up the topic of the unborn child.
- After some time of conversation, she retracts her comment about the hills looking like white elephants showing that she is considering keeping the baby after all.
- In the end, Hemingway leaves us guessing by
not telling us whether the
girl ends up having the
abortion or not.
- Hills :
1. Pregnant woman's belly.
2. When Jig was looking at the hills, she saw opportunity in them. The American on the other hand, saw nothing in them. Unlike Jig, he sees having a baby as a burden & a block in his road to a happy future.
- Railroad :
1. Crossroads of life during a crisis.
2. This shows that at one point or another, the American and Jig were ultimately going to have to make a decision.
- White Elephant :
2. "White Elephant Gift Exchange" : In this game, the gift is a joke & complete useless to the recipient. In Jig's case, the gift of a baby is useless to her at this point in her life.
- In this short story, we could see that
even though the American and his
girlfriend are talking, neither are really
listening to each other. They dance around
the topic & don't try to truly communicate
& understand each other.
- As they're having this conversation, they both drink to avoid
having to face the problems in their relationship.
- "Ya know what I'm saying?"
- "The elephant in the room."
By : Ernest Hemingway