26 February 2015
“Hills like White Elephants: A Setting Analysis”
In many works of literature, the author uses symbolism to help the reader better understand the story. Feelings and emotions are sometimes conveyed using people, colors, situations, objects, or words that represent something else. Sometimes it is easy for the reader to pick up on these symbols, and other times he or she must do some investigating to understand the deeper symbolic meaning. In “Hills like White Elephants”, Ernest Hemingway uses many symbols to help the reader figure out exactly what the characters are feeling about the major life-decision they are about to make. This is one of those stories that requires the reader to dig a little deeper to find out exactly where the author wants he or she to be in understanding the characters. One of the symbols he uses is the setting or, to be more specific, the landscape and the actual building the characters are in throughout the entire story. From where the characters are sitting, the landscape on either side of them is drastically different. What is Hemingway trying to convey by doing this? How is his use of symbolism helping the reader better understand the thoughts and feelings of Jig and the American? How do Jig and the American relate to these two different settings?
Take, for instance, the train station where they sit. It is “between two lines of rails in the sun. Close against the side of the station there was the warm shadow of the building… It was very hot…” (Hemingway 203). The station represents where they are in their dilemma: being between two lines of rails just like Jig and the American are fighting between to solutions to their problem. The fact that it is hot symbolizes that the decision they are making is very critical. It’s almost like the sun is beating down on them forcing them to make a decision. The station is also where their bags sit against the wall. This could represent the...