1. “Yes,” said the girl. “Everything tastes like licorice. Especially all the things you’ve waited so long for, like absinthe.”
Even though the girl had asked the American man to order the absinthe because she had never tried it before, she immediately puts her glass back on the table after the first taste, surprised by the drink’s sharp bite. She remarks that her drink tastes like licorice and then tries to subtly broach the subject of her pregnancy again, because the American had ignored her earlier comment that the nearby hills look like white elephants. Basically rehashing the adage “be careful what you wish for because it may come true,” the girl recognizes the irony in not liking the taste of the drink she’d asked the man to order for her, just as she presumably dislikes being pregnant when she’d always wished for a baby. The man, however, perhaps senses the underlying message of the girl’s seemingly casual remark and tells her to be quiet, prompting her to once more bring up the subject of white elephants.
2. “But if I do it, then it will be nice again if I say things are like white elephants, and you’ll like it?”
By this point, midway through the story, the girl has already retracted her previous comment that the surrounding hills look like white elephants, hinting that she wants to keep the baby instead of having an abortion. The man had been upset at this, feigning indifference but pushing for the abortion because he doesn’t want the child. Still hoping to save their broken relationship, the girl asks her boyfriend whether things between them will return to the way they used to be if she goes through with the abortion. Her indecision and desire to placate the man demonstrate her dependence on him. At the same time, however, the mere fact that she asks the question may imply that she believes that nothing can save their relationship.
Ernest Hemingway's Hills Like White Elephants Essay
1065 Words5 Pages
Ernest Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants"
Ernest Hemingway's short story "Hills Like White Elephants" relies on symbolism to carry the theme of either choosing to live selfishly and dealing with the results, or choosing a more difficult and selfless path and reveling in the rewards. The symbolic materials and the symbolic characters aid the reader's understanding of the subtle theme of this story. The hills symbolize two different decisions that the pregnant girl in our story is faced with. Both hills are completely opposite of each other, and each "hill" or decision has a consequence that is just as different as the appearance of the hills.
Hemingway uses drinking, the hillsides, and a railroad track between the two hills to…show more content…
She must choose one "hill" or another, she cannot sit on the tracks forever and mull over the pros and cons of each decision.
The girl, the American and the woman all symbolize the decision that must be made. The girl symbolizes youth, innocence and naivety. She is totally ignorant of the consequences of an abortion because she is young, beautiful and in the prime of her life, and experiencing new things all the time. Hemingway uses her to show a young, pregnant girl trying to decide if she wants to remain carefree like the American or if she wants to be like the woman and be wise and mature. The girl battles back and forth with an inner conflict, two different sides pulling at her final decision; If she has her baby she will ruin her youthfulness and destroy her romantic relationship with the American, but it very well could transform her into a woman who is wise, mature and focused on someone other than herself. The girl is getting tired of the same routine of drinks and a social life and she decides to do something very different. She decides to keep her baby, to become a woman and leave her carefree and childish ways behind. However, the only thing that is standing between the girl and the life she wants for herself and her child is the American. The American is a selfish individualist that wants to do things his way and only lives to please himself. The