Hills Like White Elephants
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Hills Like White Elephants
Ernest Hemingway wrote the work “Hills Like White Elephants”. His story is about abortion although within the text, the word abortion is nowhere to be found. The reason why Ernest Hemingway portrayed abortion the way he did was because in 1927, abortion was something that nobody really talked about. It was a something that would be looked down upon. So he writes “Hills Like White Elephants” with multiple metaphors to mask the idea of abortion. Not one time does the man or the woman say the word “abortion.” The man goes through everything that the girl says in his mind and takes the literal meaning of her words. On the other hand, the girl says almost everything metaphorically. Also the actions of the man and the girl have metaphoric meanings as well.

Earnest Hemingway writes “Hills Like White Elephants” in such a metaphoric way, that it takes a few times to read it and figure out what the topic of discussion is between the guy and the girl. When first reading line 9 of the text, “They look like white elephants,” she said, the man takes her literally as in she really means that she is really thinking about a white elephant. What she really means is a metaphor for a pregnant woman. Hills like white elephants can be seen as the belly of a pregnant woman, where the hills form from flat land and the pregnant woman’s flat belly to a rounded one. Right after she mentions this statement, he replies with “I’ve never seen one”. Then she says, “No, you wouldn’t have.” He then becomes defensive and says, “I might have…Just because you say I wouldn’t have doesn’t prove anything.” This little piece of dialogue, gives a foreshadowing of text later in the story which he mentions on how he knows “lots of people that have done it” (line 52-53) and how the “operation” is “perfectly simple” (line 56). The piece of dialogue that I mentioned that foreshadowed line 52-53 and line 56 foreshadows it by how he has gotten other girls pregnant. When he had mentioned the part with, “I might have…Just because you say I wouldn’t have doesn’t prove anything.” He really means that he knows she doesn’t know of anything of his past. He got defensive because he thinks that he knows more than her and that she is just a stupid little girl since he “Knows that it’s perfectly simple” where it is the abortion.

Another metaphor that Hemingway puts into the story is that the man is controlling. “We see that the man in the piece can speak Spanish although she cannot. This can be a sign on how he can be a controlling person since she seems to be dependent on him because she cannot communicate with other people since they are in Spain and possibly traveling throughout Europe” (www.has.vcu.edu/eng/webtext/hills/hills.htm). Since she doesn’t speak another language, then we see this as a dependency of her needing him and he can control situations and can manipulate her during conversations.

One way of manipulating his words was with saying he “loves” her over and over. In line 59-65, he tells her that he loves her and if she goes through the abortion the he will love her even more since he won’t worry anymore about it. He uses method of manipulation to make her think that he will stay with her after the abortion. He also repetitively says “I know it’s

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Little Piece Of Dialogue And Ernest Hemingway. (April 2, 2021). Retrieved from https://www.freeessays.education/little-piece-of-dialogue-and-ernest-hemingway-essay/