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Transcript of Ernest Hemingway
(Brown and dry landscape) the innocence and purity of her unborn child Symbolizes The Color White His continuing statements stress how “perfectly simple” this process can be and also imply his strong opinion that she should just “do it”. Using this euphemism, rather than the harsh word “abortion”, is one way he minimizes this choice. A second motif The man’s over-simplification of the “operation”. She is at the table finishing her beer from the third round He sits at the bar and drinks an Anis At the end of the story they each drink alone
Confronting and accepting the future
Evasion of responsibility A final theme... Choices
The girl’s dependence upon the man One theme is Communication including THEME – the main thought or central idea expressed by a work Hemingway uses a style that analysts call the “Iceberg Theory.” This is very evident in “Hills Like White Elephants.” His hard facts float above the water but most of the supporting structure, filled with symbolism, operates underwater. Hemingway knows how to trim language and has been said to “get the most from the least.” He leaves information out of this story intentionally. This allows the readers to fill in the blanks and come to their own conclusion. “Hills Like White Elephants” is similar to many of Hemingway’s other short stories. He uses straightforward writing, simple prose, and skeletal sentences. fertility – the growing baby – a new life – a new beginning Symbolizes Green Side of Station
(Lush, fertile, vibrant green landscape) the point where a decision must be made, as it is the midpoint between their journeys Symbolic of Train Station boundaries the couple is facing at this point in their life OR the separation that exists between the couple Symbolize Bamboo Curtains According to Asian legends, the possession of a white elephant was regarded as both a blessing and a curse. It was good because the animal was sacred and was considered to be a high-level gift. It was bad because the animal could not be used as a labor animal and would be expensive to own and maintain. a valuable possession which the owner can not dispose of Symbolic of White Elephant Symbolize the rounded enlargement of the girl’s stomach with a baby Hills Alcohol is one motif MOTIF – Something that recurs throughout the piece to develop the theme. This could be a reference, an incident, or an activity. the past Symbolic of Baggage A jig is also a traditional Irish dance. This nickname can show, in a subtle way, that the girl and man dance around each other and around the problem that exists without saying anything important or coming to any clear decision. A jig is a device used in wood working. Some have suggested that her name is symbolic because the man thinks of her as a tool – an object – rather than a person with emotions and feelings about her unborn child. Jig
(Nickname of the girl) According to tradition, Buddha’s mother had a dream about a white elephant that brought her a lotus flower. The following day she gave birth to her son. strength and fertility Symbolic of White Elephant The phrase “an elephant in the room” is a euphemism for a topic painfully obvious that no one wants to discuss – it refers to a question, problem, or issue that is obvious but is being ignored. avoidance of a difficult topic (“an elephant in the room”) Symbolizes White Elephant Over time, since its publication, people have read and analyzed this seemingly simple piece of fiction and have formed various opinions on the themes, motifs, and symbolism throughout. I will be presenting some of them here. “Hills Like White Elephants” was written by Ernest Hemingway and was published in 1927 in a book titled “Men Without Women.” This short story is about a couple with a major conflict – the girl is pregnant and does not want an abortion – her boyfriend appears to want her to get an abortion. For AP Literature & Composition, D. McNew Themes, Motifs, and Symbolism in “Hills Like White Elephants” This new drink that tastes like licorice can represent the innocence of Jig, since she has never heard of this drink before. This powerful liquor can symbolize the excitement that her American boyfriend has to offer to Jig, but the drink fails to deliver. Anis del Toro A white elephant sale, for example, is a type of yard sale or bargain-bin sale. At these sales, stuff that is unwanted is sold. This reference could imply that the unborn baby is useless or unwanted. uselessness or being unwanted Symbolizes White Elephant Hemingway, Ernest. “Hills Like White Elephants.” Moonstar.com. http://www.moonstar.com/~acpjr/Blackboard/Common/Stories/WhiteElephants.html. (3/31/10). “Hills Like White Elephants: A Study Guide.” Cummings Study Guide. http://www.cummingsstudyguides.net/Guides4/Hills.html. (4/1/10). “Hills Like White Elephants Symbolism, Imagery & Allegory.” Shmoop Beta. http://www.shmoop.com/hills-like-white-elephants/symbolism-imagery.html. (4/1/10). “Hills Like White Elephants – Literary Analysis.” Virginia Community College Systems Literature Website. http://www.gummyprint.com/blog/hills-like-white-elephants-literary-analysis/. (4/1/10). “White Elephant.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/white_elephant. (4/6/10). “Elephant in the Room.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/elephant_in_the_room. (4/6/10). “Hills Like White Elephants.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/hills_like_white_elephants. (3/31/10). “Hills Like White Elephants: Themes, Motifs, and Symbols.” SparkNotes. http://www.sparknotes.com/short-stories/hills-like-white-elephants/themes.html. (4/1/10). BIBLIOGRAPHY Symbolic of the passage of time Represents life and vitality Ebro River These tracks are the dividing line between the green, fertile land, and the brown, dry land, representing the division that exists between the couple. These are tracks that run side-by-side, yet never meet, and could represent the relationship between Jig and her boyfriend – being together – yet never coming together. Railroad Tracks “I don’t care anything about it.” “But I don’t want anybody but you. I don’t want anyone else. And I know it’s perfectly simple.” “I won’t worry about that because it’s perfectly simple.” “I love you now. You know I love you.” “I think it’s the best thing to do.” “Well, if you don’t want to you don’t have to. I wouldn’t have you do it if you didn’t want to. But I know it’s perfectly simple.” “You don’t have to be afraid. I’ve known lots of people that have done it.” “That’s the only thing that bothers us. It’s the only thing that’s made us unhappy.” “We’ll be fine afterwards. Just like we were before.” “I’ll go with you and I’ll stay with you all the time. They just let the air in and then it’s all perfectly natural.” “I know you wouldn’t mind it, Jig. It’s really not anything. It’s just to let the air in”” “It’s really an awfully simple operation, Jig. It’s not really an operation at all.” “Well, let’s try and have a fine time.” Another theme...Selfishness and Manipulation the man’s spirited and unrestricted lifestyle, which he will have to give up if he needs to settle down and raise a child Symbolizes all of the places the couple has traveled to Represents Hotel Labels on Baggage There is drinking throughout the story