Symbolism in “Hills Like White Elephants” Essay

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Symbolism in “Hills like White Elephants” In Ernest Hemingway’s short story, “Hills like White Elephants”, the author uses the symbolism of the scenery surrounding them, the +hills themselves, and the train station to portray the moral dilemma and obstacles the young couple faces. Jig and her lover the American are in Spain waiting at a train station somewhere between Madrid and Barcelona when this story takes place, and even though it is mostly dialogue the symbols are useful for the reader to understand each of the characters feelings towards the operation. The first way Hemingway uses symbolism is when the narrator describes the scenery around the train station. The scenery is seen as a comment on the projection of a problem, when one has a problem they tend to project it into everything they see. Here the scenery could be seen as Jig’s creative and intelligent way of trying to overcome the communication difficulties faced by the couple towards the inevitable conversation of the abortion, because it represents a choice more than what they are actually seeing. Jig and the American start off in the first paragraph on the side of the railroad station where the land is barren and there is no sign of life. This symbolizes the way the American feels about the pregnancy, because he does not want to settle down and live a lifeless life when the baby is born. He feels as though they will be happy again when the operation takes place, as the pregnancy is ruining their relationship and any chance of them being able to live a careless life again. On the other side of the tracks the narrator describes the land to be full of lush, green vegetation with a river flowing through it. The river symbolizes life and when Jig goes to this side of the station and lavishes in the fertility of the land, she realizes that the baby can lead them to a life where they can thrive. From the
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