Like White Elephants

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. The story is of a
woman and a man on their trip to a place where she can have an abortion. In the
title Hills like White Elephants, 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 fetus they are going to
get rid of. Everything in the story is focused around the conversation and the
decision The American and Jig must make. 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 names to them, because they may
be symbols of many couples in the same situation. 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 donít learn his name. The name of the girl
is not a normal name, and is also very symbolic. It is the name of a lively
dance, or it can also refer to a particular sort of behavior or activity, which
varies according to the situation that someone is in (Collins Cobuild
dictionary). What this name implies that she can change her mind about the
abortion. He is afraid of her changing her mind about this and is continuously
trying to reassure her in the decision. A narrator describes the setting. We
learn the story happens in Spain, in the Valley of the Ebro. The train the
characters are going to take is an express train from Barcelona to Madrid. We
don\'t know exactly where they are, or the time and date it takes place. We don\'t
even know if they really take the train. We must take into account the fact that
the train is stopping only for two minutes, a very short time. This limited time
symbolizes the time Jig has to have the abortion .She cannot think it over for a
long time. The later she has the abortion the more risky for her health it
becomes. She is nervous because abortion has not been legal in Spain till very
recently and in a dictatorship time it was a very punished practice (killdevilhill.com).

The abortion had to be done before noticeable. After the first introductory
paragraph we find a dialogue between the couple. This dialogue is presented as
being very natural, but it was carefully written, because through it we are
going to deduce the kind of relationship they have. The real theme of the
conversation is not clearly stated but is underlying. They are talking about
love, feelings, and her pregnancy. There is tension in the air at some moments
but they cannot express it openly. Maybe they don\'t want to be heard, or maybe
it is just a problem of communication and of sharing feelings. There are also
references to sexuality in the form of phallic symbols, the first one is related
to the title, the trunk of the elephant, then we find another one in (Anнs
del Toro), the bull as a symbol of virility. The decision for the abortion in
the end will be Jigs. She is the one who starts the conversation and she is the
one who is making the decision. She is very straightforward. She takes her hat
off and puts it on the table. She is getting rid of what covers her. She wants
to speak out about the situation clearly and put the feelings, as she does with
the hat, on the table to be talked about openly. In his turn to answer instead
of answering her questions, he changes the subject and answers "It\'s pretty
hot." This implies that he wants to change the subject and talk about
simpler things such as the weather. Men have problems showing their feelings.

The characters are really mysterious to us. We know nothing about their lives,
but they seem to have nothing to do in life apart from sex and drinking. Alcohol
is considered an aphrodisiac.