The Struggle Of Choosing Life Essay

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The Struggle of Choosing Life Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” is set in a train station along the Ebro river in northern Spain during the 1920’s. The story is about a man, the American, and a woman whose name was Jig. The story is narrated in the third person but only allows us to see their dialogue, but not their thoughts. The basis of the story is around the decision of the young couple choosing to have the child or to abort the pregnancy. Hemingway relies heavily on symbolism to convey the choices of the characters and their respective feelings. The train station consists of two sets of parallel tracks with dry arid fields on one side and fertile flourishing vegetation, trees along a river on the other. The station separating the two vastly different types of existence is directly translated into one side, the arid, desolate side representing abortion and having nothing of meaning, and the other side that flourishes with life and fertility representing the choice against having the abortion and the ability to have a life of substance. Jig begins the conversation in the bar by stating that the distant hills “look like white elephants,” (106) more or less to provoke a response from the American. In the dialogue between Jig and the American it is filled with hints and symbolisms referring to their true feelings on the matter at hand but no one comes straight out and expresses their true feelings on the matter. The conversation is a back and forth of the American trying to pursued Jig to choose the procedure and the opposite for Jig. Jig finally makes her choice clear when she states “we could have all this,” (108) referring to the fields of grain and trees along the Ebro river to which the American ignorantly replied they could without realizing the true weight of what Jig was saying. The American enjoys life

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