Hemingway Short Stories

The most striking feature of this short story is the way in which it is told. It
is not a story in the classical sense with an introduction, a development of the
story and an end, but we just get some time in the life of two people, as if it
were just a piece of a film where we have a lot to deduce, This story doesn\'t
give everything done for the reader, we only see the surface of what is going
on. It leaves an open end, readers can have their own ending and therefore take
part in the story when reading. *P* The story told here is that of a woman and a
man in their trip to a place where she can have an abortion. Everything in the
tale is related to the idea of fertility and barrenness. This main topic can be
seen from the title Hills Like White Elephants, where Hills refer to the shape
of the belly of a pregnant woman, and White Elephants is an idiom that refers to
useless or unwanted things. In this case the unwanted thing is the foetus they
are going to get rid of. *P*In the beginning we find a narrator that describes
with a simple language the area where it is going to take place. We can see that
the story happens in Spain, in the Valley of the Ebro, and we also see that the
train the characters are going to take is an express train that comes from

Barcelona and goes to Madrid, but we don\'t know exactly where they are or the
time or date in which it takes place, we don\'t even know if they really take the
train. The train here symbolizes change, movement but in some way they are
scared of it as movement is not always forward but it can also be backwards in
this case in their relationship. It is the « train of life». *P*Another thing
we must take into account is the fact that the train is stopping only for two
minutes, a very short time. This limited time symbolizes the time she has to
have the abortion, she cannot think it over for a long time first because the
later she has the abortion the more risky for her health it gets and second,
because abortion has not been legal in Spain till very recently and in a
dictatorship time it was a very punished practice, it had to be done before
noticeable. *P*In a first reading and after checking Hemingway\'s biography we
could think that the story was set in the Spanish civil war, but we must discard
this possibility because it was written in 1927, some years before the Spanish
civil war and in the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera. *P*The first impression we
get when we start reading the text is that we are in the middle of a dry, barren
place under the sun, with no shade or trees, it reinforces the idea of lack of
life but in contrast, they are in the warm shadow of the building where life is.

This emphasizes the contrast between the pregnancy of the woman, as being
fertile and everything around them, including him in this idea of fertility as
he is also apart from the barrenness and sharing the shadow. They are also
separated from the rest of the people that are inside the bar from a bamboo bead
curtain, it gives the idea of privacy reinforced by the idea of the warm shadow
of the building that protects them from the world that exists inside the bar,
they are outside, with nature. *P*In the first paragraph we have a short and
concise introduction to the characters, the narrator refers to them as the
american and the girl, the narrator doesn\'t give name to them, they may be
symbols of lots of couples in the same situation as they are, but we can deduce
the difference in age as she is considered as « the girl » and he is « the
american » . Later on we will know that her name is Jig, but we aren\'t going to
know his name. The name of the girl which by the way, is not a normal name, is
also very symbolic, as it is the name of a lively dance or it can also refer to
« a particular sort of behaviour or activity which varies according to the
situation that someone is in » (Collins