Thursday, April 18, 2013

Hills like White Elephants

        The story "Hills like White Elephants" takes place at a train station in Spain. There is a girl named Jig and a man who probably is her significant other. As the two sit and wait on the train, they are having a few drinks and discussing an important issue. By using context clues, I notice that the American is a grown man and Jig is a young girl; because the story refers to the American as a man and Jig as a girl. The girl Jig starts the conversation of by saying that the hills she see across the train tracks, look like white elephants. The American man then starts a conversation with Jig. He is trying to convince Jig to undergo an operation. Even though the operation is not stated in the story, there are clues and symbols that operation is an abortion. The American wants Jig to have an abortion for obvious reasons. He could want to have an abortion because if the child is kept, he would have a bad self-image to people of being the father of a young girl's child. The American constantly tries to convince her to have an abortion by saying, "I don't want you to do it if you don't want to." Seem as if he is trying to make her feel bad and that she should follow through with it. The American tries to bribe her by saying, “I’ll marry you, if you get an abortion.” Jig is questioning herself on if she should have this operation done or not. While the two are having a conversation, Jig is focusing on the landscape around her as she thinks to herself. She sees on the other side of the tracks are hills and green grass, while she is on a dry and deserted side.

       Each side of the tracks could symbolize her decision to get an abortion. The side across the tracks could be the good decision and the side she is on could be the bad decision. Finally, at the end of the story the girl must have changed her mind and decided to get an abortion, so that her life would be good and there would be no problems between her and the American. Jig quotes this statement right before they proceed to get on the train, "I feel fine. There's nothing wrong with me. I feel fine." The story ends and with that quote leads me to believe that she has made up her mind. The title "Hills like White Elephants" could symbolize the prenatal dream of the mother of Buddha in which a white elephant appears in her dream. It was basically about a couple who was facing a serious issue and did not know the best way to go about the unplanned pregnancy. To further complicate the issue, the girl wanted to have the baby, while the American did not want to have the baby. What we see in the story is a public discussion of the matter. 


  1. This is a really good analysis of the story. The only thing I would add is that the two characters exhibited poor communication. I believe the girl's decision was only made because she was tired of dealing with it.

  2. i really like your interpretation of the symbols in the story, i dont necessarily agree with how you perceived the story but i think its deffinetely interesting to see how you viewed certain symbols and things that the characters aid or did.